"Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.* If you are persecuted for doing the right thing,
"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
"Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."(Matthew 5:10-12)
* If you are persecuted for being meek, for being merciful, for forgiving someone who clearly didn’t deserve it,
* If you are persecuted for bringing the gospel into a troubled situation, * If you are persecuted because you’ve been identified with Jesus, and the Bible...
The only thing left to do is praise and thank God.
You are being opposed by those in the spiritual realm who are enemies to the gospel. You’ve got to have this in your life if you are a Christian. This is sharing in Christ’s life.
The Bible is clear about this. The world absolutely loathes the Lord, with a bitter, active hatred. You and I can’t make Jesus all sweet and delicious to try and hide His Jesus-ness. To the people who are desperately needy and crying out for God, they won’t recognize a disguised Jesus. They need the real thing.
And for the people who prefer the world and would hate Jesus anyway, they won’t swallow Jesus even with a spoonful of sugar. To some Jesus is the breath of life. To others He is the stench of death. Don’t be surprised by the slander and false accusations, don’t be surprised by the meanness, and the smack downs.
The closer you get to Jesus, the more you will be like Him, and the more the world will recognize you. The persecution is worth it,
* Because the people Jesus is calling will know they can go to you and hear the truth about Him.
* Because it is proof that you are sharing in the life of the Lord Jesus Christ.
* Because it is confirmation that you are being sanctified.
* Because the reward of heaven is way bigger than anything you are going through right now.
And there is a deep bond between you and every other believer who is going through the same thing.
--> What persecution are you experiencing right now? Maybe God has placed someone near to you to be together with you as you draw closer to Christ and experience this part of His life – reach out to that person.
When you live for Jesus, you will share in His joy and His sufferingWhen you asked God to forgive your sins, and invited Him to make His home in your heart, He gave you His Holy Spirit. The Spirit is your deposit on the heavenly account of limitless blessing, both your inheritance for the future, but also an account you can draw on any time you want to right now. When you received the Holy Spirit into your inner being the Bible says you received "every heavenly blessing."
It’s only possible to even hope to attain these blessed characteristics with the Holy Spirit’s indwelling life and power working outward from within us. He is the One that brings the divine joy, deep contentment and inner serenity. And He is the One who makes it possible to experience Jesus’ life within you.
--> Which of these "beatitude" traits are you noticing God has really grown in you?
--> Which of these traits are you still not experiencing deeply? If you connect with, or are experiencing, even one of these eight characteristics ... be glad! You are numbered with Christ and He is at work in you.
If you don't feel that you have a particular aspect of the blessings of Christ, be encouraged. Count on the deposti that the Holy Spirit has put into your inner being. Ask God to help you in experiencing and living out that character trait with confidence that it really is already there, in your newly created inner being, just waiting for you to own it.
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