By Greg Laurie
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
The persecution of Christians is pervasive around the world today. Our Christian brothers and sisters suffer in nations like North Korea, China, and Russia. They suffer in Islamic nations where they’re treated horribly—even executed if they profess faith in Christ. ISIS is known for committing atrocities on the level of what Old and New Testament believers faced.
Persecution can show itself in many ways. It can be physical. It can be the taking of a life. It can be the threatening of a life. It can be verbal. It can be people mocking you, marginalizing you, or insulting you because of your faith in Jesus Christ. It can come in other ways. But it’s going to come.
The Bible says that “all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12 NKJV). That’s a promise I think we rarely claim. When is the last time you asked for that promise to be fulfilled? We lay claim to promises of protection or promises of provision. But when is the last time you said, “Lord, you promised that if I live a godly life, I will be persecuted. So bring it on.” No, you don’t pray that. Nor do I.
We don’t determine what challenges, what hardships, or what difficulties come our way. All we determine is how we will react to those things when they come. Jesus said this about persecution: “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:10 NKJV). But far too often we’re persecuted for the wrong reasons. Jesus did not say, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for being obnoxious and mean.” Let it be because you’re a godly man, a godly woman. Let’s make sure it is for the right reasons.
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