“Happy are you when men give you a bad name, and are cruel to you, and say all evil things against you falsely, because of me.” Matthew 5:11 (BBE)
James 1:2 restates the same. I guarantee you that I’m rarely happy when this happens. Are you?
When it does, I usually resort to a pity party (see yesterday’s post) and then a plot of revenge destined for the history books. Luckily those plans never materialize because I don’t think I’d do well in jail. Eeeewwww.
My point is that God’s economy is upside down, and so very different from what the world says.
See… in this scripture, Jesus is telling us to rejoice when we are persecuted by others. He knows that when this happens to us, it provides a growth opportunity. For example…
- Our faith can be strengthened because we lean on Him during these painful times. At the end of the day, we know He’s all we’ve got.
- We can stand out as a positive example to others as they watch us go through it. That gives them strength to endure.
Many have gone before us. The Bible is full of stories of the amazing faith and steadfastness of men and women who endured horrific hatred and harm. I don’t know about you, but it gives me hope and reassurance to see others stand through the storm.
The lives of Job, Joseph, Noah, Moses, Daniel, and Elijah (to name a few) encourage me greatly when the world comes against me.
But you know what I’ve come to understand about being persecuted?
It shows me that I am doing what God is calling me to do. I’m being faithful. Better yet… I’m a threat to the Enemy. (I’m such a warrior at heart)
You see, faithless people fly under the radar.
- They don’t stand up and defend the weak.
- They don’t rock someone’s misguided belief system.
- They don’t challenge people to love harder and forgive more.
- They deal with little conflict
- They pose no threat to the plans of the Evil One.
That’s not how I want to live. Give me persecution any day over a safe life.
While I still struggle to actually be happy when things come against me, this next verse explains the benefit of having a more eternal perspective when persecuted. Here’s the best part…
“Be glad and full of joy; for great is your reward in heaven: for so were the prophets attacked who were before you.” Matthew 5:12 (BBE)
Bottom line: God will reward us. To those who suffer the most, God gives the highest rewards.
I wonder what kind of life you’ve been living. Oh I hope it’s been a dangerous one! Why not find out? Here are some questions to chew on.
- Have you had times where others turned their backs on you because of an unpopular decision?
- Have others spoken out against you because you prayerfully chose a different path?
- Have you challenged others to get in the game and it back fired because they thought it was too much to ask?
- Have others been gossiping about you with “hearsay?”
- Have you been verbally attacked by those you trusted because you stood up for what was right in God’s eyes?
- Have others questioned you for hidden motives or about your passionate love for God?
Yes? Then be happy. 🙂