LIFESTYLE THAT INVITES PERSECUTION!
Verse for Today: Saturday, April 09, 2011
Matthew 5:11 – Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.
When Jesus Christ was physically present in the world, the enemy found Him as his greatest target. When Jesus is not here physically, the enemy makes sure that all his attacks are against the people who follow Jesus. His followers are not the followers of an organized religion, but those who follow the principles, teachings and life style of Jesus. Jesus challenged the sinful social order and religiosity of His time and taught that if we follow Him in any century, we would be challenging the order of that time. God’s people through the centuries lived by faith when the world lives by sight and smartness. God’s children live a detached life in this world as sojourners and tent makers. They keep all their treasures in Heaven and live here to serving their Master as His true followers. But when the followers of Jesus live as taught by Him, they are in essence turning this world and its order upside down. They are challenging the world’s paradigm of selfishness, manipulations, gossip, envy, cheating, lying, retaliation, arguments, conflicts and fights, to mention a few. Instead, each day the followers of Jesus try to show the lifestyle of Jesus in their movements and conversations by living for others, being straightforward, speaking good about others, honest in all their dealings and showing humility and brokenness in their dealings. Such a lifestyle becomes a great inconvenience for the people of the world, and so they try to lure them into their own fleshly life style. But if that is not successful, they would turn against us and try to destroy us through wicked ways.
Dear reader, are you trying to live daily as taught by Jesus Christ? As you struggle to live as Jesus lived, the world around might be trying to discredit you. They might be slandering, mocking, ridiculing, challenging, envying and even cheating you. What they are trying to do is to see how we would respond. If we respond passively, they will try to work against us all the more powerfully, by persecuting us in our neighbourhoods, places of work and even in places of worship. But what should be our response to such initiatives of the world around us? Jesus expects us to be full of joy when we are treated like Him by the world. We are given the grace to be full of bliss while reviled against and falsely accused of crimes we have never done. We should realize that this was how they dealt with Jesus. They are now doing the same to us as they hate us because of the hatred they had for our Lord. But we have to consider it a great privilege to suffer for the Lord as He suffered. We have to suffer loss when deprived. We have to forgive and pray for our persecutors as Stephen, Paul and Jesus did. Such behavior will be seen in us only when Jesus and His Spirit control us. When we are thus under divine control, we would not have the inclination to take to revenge and fight but would rather bless those who curse us or falsely accuse us. Such is the blessed experience that is made available to us as we truly want to follow the Lord Jesus. When we suffer in the hands of the enemies of our Lord, He will come to us, wipe our tears and comfort us to go through it with the joy that is set before us in Heaven. Let us today vouch to follow the life style of Jesus at each step we take in our sojourn. Let the world see the Lord Jesus in our attitudes, actions and communications.
2 Timothy 3:12 – Indeed all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.
Thought for Today
Our willingness to suffer for the sake of our Lord is the true expression of our allegiance and love to Him.
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LIFESTYLE THAT INVITES PERSECUTION!!