“You are blessed when they insult and persecute you and falsely say every kind of evil against you because of Me. Be glad and rejoice, because your reward is great in heaven. For that is how they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
Matthew 5:11-12 HCSB
For the believer, the Bible’s response to the challenges around us might seem crazy to the natural man. What are we to do when we are reviled and persecuted? We are to rejoice; as in literally jump for joy!
The Apostles took this literally because they were meant to. When they were beaten for preaching the gospel in Acts 5, the Bible says they departed from the council ‘rejoicing’ that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name (Acts 5:40-41).
Isn’t that interesting? They were willing to lay down their lives for the gospel.
James also wrote about this saying:
“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing”
James 1:2-4 KJV
This was one attitude James had to demonstrate himself when he was persecuted and killed for his faith as well.
But keep in mind that God takes it personally when a preacher of the gospel is persecuted for truly and faithfully preaching His message. The way He sees it, it isn’t the preacher who is being resisted but He Himself.
This is why Jesus, when He appeared to Saul said: “Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?””
Acts 9:4 NLT
Many times, it is the man who really does the work of God that gets persecuted. So, this is enough reason to rejoice and count it all joy.
A man who gets persecuted for Christ is to be envied, for great is his reward in heaven.
It won’t always be easy to remember this, but we must see persecution for what it is- a privilege and one with great rewards.
DO THIS: Pray for Believers all around the world being persecuted for their faith. Pray that they are delivered from wicked and unreasonable men. And that they receive boldness to declare their faith yet more.
Bible Reading Plan:
Mark 12:13-27, 2 Corinthians 8, Psalms 103, 1 Samuel 19-20.