Sunday, 29 August 2021
“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
It’s worth it to live openly for Jesus even when it results in people treating you badly or lying about you, because God will honor you for standing for him!
What should our response be when we are treated badly for our witness for Jesus? Rejoice and be glad! God takes notice of people who are willing to suffer for him and he will reward them greatly in heaven. The early Christians did just what Jesus said. Acts 16:23-25 says, “And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely. Having received this order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.”
Paul and Silas have just been beaten. Their captors had “inflicted many blows” so it was a pretty serious beating. Then they were thrown into prison and their feet put into stocks. This wouldn’t have been a nice prison with a bed to sleep on and TV to watch. No, this was a dank, dark uncomfortable place – especially with their backs raw from the beating. But what were they doing? Praying and singing hymns of praise!
When we are being persecuted, our response can be one of rejoicing and prayer. When you bring things before the Lord, he puts it all into perspective, doesn’t he? Look at the prophets that Jesus talks about? They knew their job was not to be popular, but to honor God and bring his message. This brought suffering for a time, but today they are in heaven and God is so pleased with them for putting him first. They are glad they stood for him.
Are you being persecuted right now? Take heart! Talk to God about it and let him take the burden from you.
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