Devotion for Thursday December 22, 2016
Topic: THE BLESSINGS IN PERSECUTION
Text: Matthew 5:10 – 12
As we conclude the study on the Beatitudes, we should note these four ways to understand and imbibe its lessons.
(1) They are codes of ethics for us and a standard of conduct for all Christians. What it means is that we are not to choose the one we want and discard the others rather we are bound to have them and live by them.
(2) They contrast Kingdom values (what is eternal) with worldly values (what is temporary). Most Christians of today are much more interested in the worldly things and their values. We should be careful to understand the things that are needful for us so as not to be carried away by worldly value and we miss heaven at last.
(3) They contrast the superficial faith of the Pharisees with the real faith that Christ demands. What Christ demands from us is what matters even when people do not consider it as normal or they see them as outdated.
(4) They show how the Old Testament expectations will be fulfilled in the new Kingdom.
These Beatitudes are not multiple choices to pick from; rather, it must be taken as a whole. They describe what we should be like, as Christ’s followers and how we should relate with God and Man.
In this last of the Beatitudes, Jesus stresses what will mark us out as matured Christians. It takes a high level of maturity to endure temptations and trials without losing your faith. Jesus said we should rejoice when we’re persecuted for our faith for the following reasons.
(1) It takes our eyes off earthly rewards.
(2) It strips away superficial belief,
(3) It strengthens our faith when we endure, and
(4) Our attitude going through it serves as an example to others who follow.
We should be comforted knowing that God’s greatest prophets were persecuted (Elijah, Jeremiah, Daniel, etc). The fact that we are being persecuted proves that we have been faithful. Remain faithful because God will reward those faithful by receiving them into His eternal Kingdom, where there will be no more persecution. Will you be there?
Food for Thought: Persecution strengthens our faith when we endure it.
Memory verse: Matthew 5 verse 10: Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (KJV).
Prayer: God, I need your grace to endure persecution, trial and temptations that may come my way in Jesus name. Amen.