Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 “Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Matthew 5 v 10-12
The word persecuted here could be just as well translated as ‘harassed’. Blessed are we when we are harassed for being Christians! Can you rejoice when you are harassed, ignored or treated unfairly just for your faith? Would you shout ‘Praise the Lord’ if when you are at church tomorrow, the police came, dragged your Pastor out of the pulpit and beat him up whilst his wife and family looked on?
More often than not, most of us look for ways to avoid confrontation – especially if it would otherwise mean we become less popular or deemed a religious fruit-cake! Matthew 13 v 21 highlights a group of people who will will not grow or endure hardship in tough times…
yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.
How awful it would be to stumble and fall because the walk is too difficult. Fellowship is crucial for a healthy walk with the Lord, but even those who are firmly rooted in Christ’ could be going it alone and they will stand and endure until the end.
Rejoicing in Persecution
It is inevitable that most Christians will experience times of difficulty. As you read this, i am pretty sure that you will be able to recall your own times of hardship, some will have very painful stories… A friend of mine is a lone Christian in a large family, they mock her and her faith. Another has a husband who is a bully; she came to faith after they married. He taunts her because she loves Jesus. My own sons have been mocked, teased and bullied because they are Christians.
Whilst these situations are awful, and we should lift our brothers and sisters up in prayer, ‘the church’ in other lands are suffering really horrendous persecution… I think in the UK, we too will face persecution in days to come because our government seems incessant on introducing laws that oppose the bible’s instruction.
Many Christians in other lands are persecuted just for having faith in Jesus, their families are threatened, harassed, imprisoned and tortured. Why then, when by comparison we don’t face terrible consequences, do we seek an ‘easy’ faith?
Listen to Paul as he not only suffered persecution but takes pleasure in it!
2 Corinthians 12 v 10:
Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Living for the blessing of persecution
What if we lived our lives for the blessing of persecution?
What if every day we chose to become the ‘religious fruit cake’ for just a moment as we confront a stranger with the gospel?
What if we made it a priority to stand up to the government by writing to our MP’s or signing numerous petitions?
What if we believed the scripture that says ‘faith comes by hearing the Word of God’ and actually wrote, spoke or text someone a passage of scripture?
What if when we woke every morning, we would plead to God to be used in a mighty way that would mean that we would be persecuted or harassed for sure?
What if we stopped being afraid of those that are perishing and we spoke truth – God’s truth – into a world that is all encompassing?
What if revival would start in the hearts of those who are praying on their knees asking God to use them in any way He pleases?
Are you ready?
Are you willing?
I want to! I am afraid but I want to!
Will you pray like this? Will you cry out with words like the hymn writer Francis Havergal?
Take my life and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
*Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in endless praise.
Take my hands and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee.
Take my voice and let me sing,
Always, only for my King.
Take my lips and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee.
Take my silver and my gold,
Not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect and use
Every pow’r as Thou shalt choose.
Take my will and make it Thine,
It shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart, it is Thine own,
It shall be Thy royal throne.
Take my love, my Lord, I pour
At Thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself and I will be
Ever, only, all for Thee.
All for Jesus, I surrender…
Ps Take a moment to visit the website that is mentioned on the picture to read about our persecuted brothers and sisters.