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Leading The Way - Week of February 21

Those Who are Persecuted Because of Righteousness

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

As you read the Gospels, you’ll discover that Jesus was persecuted because of His blazing righteousness. He would not conform to the expectations of the religious authorities. Rather, He spoke the Truth, lived the Truth, and died for the Truth.

So Jesus finishes the beatitudes with the promise that those persecuted for righteousness will receive the Kingdom of heaven. Now, there is a difference between being persecuted for righteousness and the offense of the cross and being persecuted for being offensive in our attitude and character. But those who seek a deeper walk with Christ and follow Him no matter the cost will receive this special blessing promised to Christ’s persecuted—those who have dispensed with shallow spiritual experiences and seek the glory of Jesus above everything else in life. Believers who live like this will put His righteousness on display—and the righteousness of God is always in conflict with the wickedness of this world.

Brothers and sisters, when you are persecuted, know this: The hatred you experience is really being directed toward the Lord, not you. Don’t ever take the insults personally. When you are slandered for your Biblical convictions, Jesus says to you, “Count on Me. Look up to Me. Leave it with Me.” Remember that our victory comes from trusting God, from imitating our Savior (see 1 Peter 2:21-25). We don’t retaliate; we respond with love. We bless and do not curse (see Romans 12:14). Like Jesus, we endure for the joy set before us (see Hebrews 12:2). The reward of heaven is waiting.

Prayer: Jesus, thank You that You are always with me. Help me to withstand the persecution that I may endure for Your name. May I look to You for peace and strength. May I bless and not curse, praying for those who persecute me—who persecute You—that they might be saved. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:10).

Learn more in Dr. Michael Youssef’s sermon Happiness Is in You, Part 8: LISTEN NOW

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