Monday’s Blog: Blessed Are Those Who Are Persecuted

We continue our series on the Beatitudes with Matthew 5:10, “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

One of Strong’s definitions for persecuted in this verse is, “to make to run or flee, put to flight, drive away.”

Persecution is simply opposition from the devil to try and prevent us from doing the will of God.

Anyone who follows Christ will be persecuted. Jesus said, “Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also” (John 15:20).

Most of us haven’t experienced physical persecution like the early church experienced, and even some still experience today. But it doesn’t mean we are not persecuted in other ways.

When I followed God’s plan to write my book about His will for our marriages and families, the devil tried to stop me in many different ways. I had never experienced such strong opposition before I started writing this book. He attacked my marriage by trying to turn my husband against me. He attacked my children through disobedience. Discipline that worked well in the past no longer worked.

He attacked my family’s health. For almost six months straight we were hit with odd sicknesses; soars even the doctors couldn’t diagnose. He attacked our finances. The first year of writing the book everything seemed to break down. Our cars broke down four consecutive times in a row to where it drained our bank account to nothing. And I think the cars would have continued breaking down if we hadn’t decided to stop fixing them.

He turned family members, friends, and my church against me. Even those I sought assistance in publishing, that didn’t even know me, he turned against me, as they were extremely hateful toward me.

But the most dangerous persecution I think I experienced was the great attack on my heart. From the constant rejection and let down from others, especially Christians, my heart was in danger of hardening.

Chuck Balsamo experienced similar attacks while writing his book, “Make Me a Legend.”

He wrote: “In May 2009, I told my wife, ‘I am so let down with people right now. I feel like a kid who is afraid of the dark. It seems like the shadows are stalking me. I am paralyzed with fear of who is going to stab me next! And you know what scares me even more than that? I am petrified to think about how this ghastly betrayal might be permanently damaging my heart. I don’t want to hate people. I don’t want to wish for the death of my enemies. Dear God, this is not a little thing. I am fighting for my life!’”

The Bible warns us, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life” (Proverbs 4:23, NLT).

The devil will attack our hearts more than anything else. He knows we will follow our hearts wherever they lead us. We are dangerous to his plan when our hearts are filled with Christ’s love.

Ironically, the same persecution that was meant to drive me away from the will of God is what motivated me to press on and allow God to heal my heart. Knowing I was being attacked, confirmed I was speaking the truth and obeying God’s will. The devil wouldn’t have tried so hard to shut me up if I wasn’t a threat to him. This made me more eager to complete the book and share God’s Word. And it’s helping me press through the obstacles he throws at me now that the book is published.

In her book, “The Real You,” Misty Gatlin shared this quote from Lisa Bevere: “Sometimes the enemy is more aware of who you are than you are aware of who you are, and he attacks you out of fear of who you might be.”

Misty expressed, “The enemy does not want you to be the person you were created to be because that person is powerful and scary to him. That’s right. You scare Satan!”

We don’t need to cower in fear over persecution. We can use it to motivate us to continue doing the will of God, so we can reach others and receive our reward.

Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death.

—Revelation 2:11

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**Prayer for the week**

Heavenly Father,

We praise You for not allowing anything the devil throws at us crush us. We are more than conquerors through Christ. Help us to guard our hearts when people turn against us. We know they are not rejecting us, they are rejecting You, Lord. Help us to press on through persecution and run our race with joy, knowing we will receive a great reward.

In Jesus’s Name, Amen!

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*Come back next Monday as I share more of God’s Truths and the reasons behind the Truths.

*All Bible verses are taken from the NIV, unless otherwise noted.

 


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