Last time we saw that as we seek to be a peacemaker by introducing Jesus Christ to people that God brings into our paths, we resemble our Heavenly Father who is the supreme peacemaker.
But as we do so, God's enemy will try to throw us curves to get us to either shut our mouths from speaking the gospel, or to try to ruin our witness any way he can. And we need to remember that he will use people to that end. Which brings us to the next “be-attitudes.”
“Blessed are they who have been persecuted for righteousness sake! For theirs is the kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are you when men shall revile you and persecute you, and shall say all kinds of evil against you falsely, for My sake.” Mat 5:10-11
From the time one of my sons was in kindergarten, he had a strong desire to tell his friends at school about Jesus. On his own, he took his bible to school and read it during his own personal reading time. And he would tell his friends that they could have Jesus, too, if they would just pray and ask Him to come into their hearts. And he did in fact pray with a few of his friends to accept Jesus.
And then a couple of years later we moved, he started going to a new school, and the bullying started. We entered into what were some of the most difficult several years we had.
One of the kids who taunted him and called him some horrible names lived in our neighborhood. This child pushed my son off the bus they took to school. Other kids on the bus would turn to him out of nowhere and curse at him. Another child walked up to him and slapped his face for no apparent reason. One student even went so far as to outrightly tease him for being a Christian. This went on for years. I pleaded with teachers and administration for help, but none ever came.
The bible tells us that “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the world's rulers, of the darkness of this age, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:12)
The persecution my son endured did not come from just one or two kids, but from many, and I believe to this day that the enemy was using those children to quiet my son from telling anyone else about Jesus and from praying with them. But we continued to pray for his friends and for his teachers.
Those were some dark days, but God’s Word tells us that when we suffer persecution for obeying our God and doing His will, we are blessed because we will have a home with the Lord forever. And in that blessed place “the wicked shall be no more; Indeed, you will look carefully for his place, But it shall be no more.” (Psalm 37:10) The enemy will never again come against us. We will live among the royalty of the Almighty and indeed, live as princes and princesses forever. We will feast at the table of the King of kings and we will know unceaseable joy.
And the wondrous thing will be, that because we endured in doing our Father’s will and fought to spread the gospel and make disciples in spite of opposition, we, along with my son, will be blessed to see those very souls whom we prayed for and prayed with to receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. What a joyous time it will be!
As Jesus sat speaking to the multitudes, He told them, and us, that as we admit our sins, as we humble ourselves, as we do God’s will, and even as we suffer persecution, we have reason to keep an attitude of joyfulness, because we will have a reward, which is Jesus Christ Himself.
Don't be surprised to see persecution increase as the time gets nearer to the return of our Savior. But don't let that deter you. They're only scare tactics. Stay in prayer for strength and wisdom from the Lord and keep your eyes on the prize as you persevere. Seeing souls brought into the kingdom of heaven is far more important than our discomfort. And remember, you will have reward for your faithfulness!
“Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for your reward in Heaven is great. For so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt loses its savor, with what shall it be salted? It is no longer good for anything, but to be thrown out and to be trodden underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under the grain-measure, but on a lampstand. And it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in Heaven.” Matthew 5:13-16