Scripture Passage: Matthew 5:10-13
According to Scripture, becoming a genuine Christian means facing some kind of persecution. The only way to escape it is to compromise—to conform to this world. Instead, we can prepare for persecution and decide now that no matter what happens, nothing will take our joy from us.
Matthew 5:10 reveals, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Adrian Rogers says, “Joy is a thermostat; it is internal and doesn’t depend on circumstances. Persecution is the thermometer that shows how you are living for the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Christians are persecuted “for righteousness’ sake” because we are different. In Matthew 5:13-16, Jesus called us the salt and light of this world. Salt irritates the wounds of this world, and light exposes its darkness. In context, Jesus was saying we are to be irritants and exposers of sin.
But we must not confuse punishment for persecution. Adrian Rogers says, “We are punished by good people when we do evil. We are persecuted by evil people when we do good.”
Jesus was crucified because of false witnesses; likewise, Christians are and will continue to be blamed for things they have not done.
Jesus says, “for my sake” (Matthew 5:11). The world hates Jesus Christ because He stands against the very things the world stands for: liquor, abortion, pornography, pride, racism, hatred, and selfishness.
As followers of Christ, we can expect to endure personal insult and physical intimidation. But we can enlist our persecution for the glory of God. Because we are children of the King, we reign in life, and we can return good for evil. We must also rejoice in the Lord; we have been identified as a follower of Christ and associated with the Lord... what an honor!
Finally, we should respond in love. We can be great witnesses if we respond to the hate of this world with the love it desperately needs.
Knowing the reasons for persecution and the results of it, what is your response? Are you willing to follow Jesus in a world that hates Him? When you are persecuted, rejoice in the Lord and respond in love.