The Prize after Persecution

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When was the last time you experienced persecution for being a Christian?

Matthew 5:10

"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven."

Reverend George F. MacLeod wrote that, "The greatest criticism of the church today is that no one wants to persecute it because there is nothing very much to persecute it about." Ouch.

As Christians in America, our personal understanding of "persecution" is limited. However, even us cushy Westerner-type followers of Christ can experience an American form of persecution. The $64,000 question is this: when is the last time YOU experienced ANY form of persecution for being a follower of Christ? The 19th- century Baptist preacher, Alexander Maclaren, notes that "A true Christian ought to be a standing rebuke to the world, an incarnate conscience." 

Jesus said it best in John 3:19-20 when He said, "And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed." Follow that with Matthew 5:14, a verse we will get to in short order, which tells us that we will be "the light of the world".

Do you see what's happening here? The more you live out the first 7 beatitudes the more the 8th will take place in your life. Why? You are the light, which shines in the darkness. Do you like it when somebody shines a bright light in your face? Of course you don't. Add to that the spiritual dimension and VOILA! The unbelieving world's natural reaction will be to persecute you.

So … back to my question: When was the last time you experienced persecution for being a Christian?

It could be teasing from classmates, co-workers, neighbors or even family members. Perhaps it's the rolling of the eyes when you mention your faith or a Christian view on a current event. Maybe your faith has cost you a relationship or two or ten.

GOOD!  Blessed are you, for yours is the Kingdom of Heaven.

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