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Monday, July 15, 2019

Three Things to Remember When I’m Experiencing Oppression

In review of Matthew 5:10-12 it tells me that  God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. 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” (NLT).

Jesus tells me to be happy when I'm persecuted for my faith. Persecution can be good because (1) it takes my eyes off earthly rewards, (2) it strips away superficial belief, (3) it strengthens my faith when I endure, and (4) my attitude through it serves as an example to others who see my example. The fact that I'm being persecuted proves that I have been faithful; faithless people would be unnoticed. In the future God will reward the faithful by receiving them into his eternal Kingdom, where there is more persecution.

When I feel pressured by the world because I love Jesus and other people don’t, I need to remember three things:

1). Opposition can make me more like Jesus.
Jesus says in John 15:18-20, “If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you. Do you remember what I told you? ‘A slave is not greater than the master.’ Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you” (NLT). 

If I’m going to grow up and be like Jesus Christ, I’m going to have to go through the things Jesus went through, including loneliness, discouragement, stress, and temptation. Why would God spare me when he didn’t spare his own Son from those things?

2). Opposition will deepen my faith.
My faith is like a muscle. A muscle doesn’t grow when I sit in a chair and eat chips. A muscle grows by being stretched, strained, and tested. I’m never going to grow a muscle if no weight is ever pulling in the opposite direction.

If I don’t have opposition in my life, my faith is not growing. The strongest believers in the world right now are those who are having their faith tested the most. The Bible says in 1 Peter 1:7, “These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world” (NLT).

3). Opposition will give me eternal rewards.
Matthew 5:10-12 says, “God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. 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” (NLT).

God’s going to bless anybody who’s persecuted because they live for him. Notice that I don’t get rewarded for being rude or obnoxious. If I live a self-righteous life when I get persecuted, I’m not a martyr. I’m just a jerk.

I won’t get rewarded for that. I’ll get rewarded for being like Jesus. When I share my faith, do it with gentleness and respect, just like Jesus, and I’ll will be rewarded for it one day in heaven.

Remember those three things whenever I’m harassed for my faith: It can make me more like Jesus. It can deepen my faith. And I’ll will be rewarded for it in eternity.

In summary, God will bless me when I'm persecuted for doing right. In fact, I should be happy about it. For great rewards await me in heaven. Persecution can be a good because it takes my eyes off earthly rewards, strips away superficial belief, strengthens my faith when I endure and my attitude in the midst of it serves as an example to others. The fact that persecution comes is proof that I have been faithful. Opposition can make me more like Jesus. I'll have to go through things that Jesus went through. Opposition will deepen my faith. Faith is like a muscle that must be exercised. If I don't face opposition, my faith is not growing. Opposition will lead to eternal rewards. I won't get rewarded for being rude or obnoxious. I'll be rewarded for being like Jesus. So when I share my faith do it with gentleness and respect.  

Although I’d like to have everything hassle free, I will face persecution, especially if I live and display my faith in Jesus. Jesus tells me to be happy when it occurs, for my reward will be great in heaven. So I need to strive to be like Jesus. I need to share my faith with gentleness and respect. This morning Father I pray that through the Holy Spirit that you help remind me of this. I also ask for your wisdom and guidance for my day, my leadership and my interaction with others. I pray these things in your Son Jesus name, amen.

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