What will people think when they hear that I’m a Jesus freak?
What will people do when they find out it’s true?
I don’t really care if they label me a Jesus freak.
There ain’t no disguisin’ the truth! —“Jesus Freak” by D.C. Talk
 
I heard a story this week from one of our missionaries about a boy in Iraq, a believer in Jesus. He was pulled off a bus because he was wearing a cross necklace. He was beaten to a pulp right there on the street. No one stopped them. No one helped him. He later died from his wounds.
 
In the western world, we don’t usually suffer physical persecution. But some of you maybe have been fired for your faith. Maybe you’ve been ostracized by your family. Maybe you’ve lost profits, unwilling to cross an ethical line in your business. Maybe you stood for Christ at school and you were ridiculed. All that stuff has to do with endurance, and that’s something that God rewards.
 
The E in BEMA stands for endurance.
 
“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” — Matthew 5:11-12
 
Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. — James 1:12
 
“Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor's crown.” —Revelation 2:10
 
Pretty backwards, if you ask me. Shouldn’t we stand up for ourselves, defend ourselves, pay others back for what they have done? But He said, “When it happens, just rejoice knowing one day it’s going to be worth it. I’m with you and in you. Hang in there. Go the distance!”
 
Father, give me strength to endure any sort of ridicule or persecution aimed at me because of You. Your love is greater than any insult or injury, and I take solace in Your love, a small taste of the rewards You’ve made for me in Heaven. Keep me looking forward and up as I move along in my life. Amen.

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