“Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” – Matthew 5:10-12
What is persecution? Persecution is any form of opposition resulting from Christ in you being made known through you. And unfortunately, persecution is not an easy pill to swallow. Being hated is not our goal when we take up our cross and follow Christ. But it often is a byproduct of it. In this verse we learn that the faithful and persecuted follower of Christ is to “rejoice and be glad!” How can we mature in our faith-journey so that, when persecution comes our way, we can rejoice? We submit to God’s ways and turn our suffering into praise. Peter reminds us, “so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:7). When we turn our persecution into praise, we are modeling the life of Jesus for all those who are watching. What a testimony!
Will you choose to rejoice and be glad no matter the circumstance today? Your reward in heaven will be great!