November 18 (Matthew 5:11-12)
“God blesses you when people mock you and
persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you
because you are my followers.Be happy about it! Be very
glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient
prophets were persecuted in the same way.”
People may tell you that you are privileged as a Christian, especially if you are living in the West. They will say that yours is the dominant religion, that vacations from work are often based on your holidays, and that the world of commerce is all about you, especially as we head toward Christmas. Now, ask yourself this. How comfortable do you feel talking about your faith? Will you share the good news that salvation is found only in Christ and in no other religion or religious figure? Will you speak against sins like abortion while sharing the love and forgiveness of God for those who have experienced it?
For most of us the answer is no, or at best a hesitant yes. We see what happens to people in social media for speaking the truth. Perhaps we have directly experienced mocking and evil comments. And of course, we don’t want to ruffle feathers at work. We have to show up tomorrow and work with these people. What if our comments make that uncomfortable?
Friends, Jesus said that when we live for Him, which includes speaking His words, we will indeed make people uncomfortable. They will lie and say all kinds of things about us, but guess what? You are in good company. The same, and far worse, has happened to the saints throughout the ages, to say nothing of our Lord Jesus Himself. Hebrews 12:2 reminds us, “Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne,” and He promises that you have a great reward in store as well.
Lord, strengthen me against petty fear. Grant me the boldness and courage to be Your faithful servant in all the works to which You call me. In all things, my model is Jesus, who endured the horror of the cross for me. Amen.
Copyright © 2018 by Steven R. Perkins