“Blessed are those who are Persecuted"
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:10 (ESV)
To be persecuted is to be harassed or punished in a manner designed to injure, grieve, or afflict. Specifically: to cause to suffer because of belief, according to The Merriam-Webster dictionary.
No one wants or asks to be treated in such a way but, when you put on the name of Christ it comes with the territory, (2 Timothy 3:12, John 15:19). And that's ok because we live a Romans 5:3-5 lifestyle. As a Christian, we are not like this world. We do not walk the same, we do not talk the same, and most of all, we do not think the same as the world does. We are on a personal journey to be Christ like in all that we do, in every aspect of our life. (Some characteristics of a Christian can be read in Galatians 5:22-25 and James 1:19-20). Furthermore, we want the world to experience and get to know our Heavenly Father like we do.
There are more than a few examples of persecution because of faith throughout the Bible. Daniel was thrown into a lions' den (Daniel 6). Job was subjected to trial after trial at the hands of Satan (Job 1- 2). The apostles were imprisoned (Acts 4 - 5). And what do these instances have in common? Despite what happened to these men, they remained faithful and upheld their righteousness.
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. James 1:12 ESV
No matter what we endure, no matter the trial, no matter the struggle, we know that our Lord is always with us and He will not forsake us. We understand that whatever we may face, it is temporary and we find comfort and peace in knowing that our Lord's love is forever and he will never leave us.
1 Peter 4:12-19 ESV reads, Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And “If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.
The promise of Heaven is our reward and there is nothing anyone can say or do that will take that away. So, strive to do good even when it leads to hardships. Love your enemies, forgive them and lift them up in prayer. Let us put our trust in God fully. Be patient and continue to profess our faith with gratitude.
I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown. Revelation 3:11 ESV