daily devotional

Persecution and Blessing?

Read Matthew 5:10 

Do you usually associate persecution with blessing? Jesus did. "Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness" (Matthew 5:10). I don't know how this strikes you, but it seems misplaced at first glance. Especially on the heels of what we have learned about being "peacemakers." But it is not misplaced.

Realistically, wrong treatment often comes upon those who do what is right. We who genuinely desire to serve others soon discover that being mistreated isn't the exception. It's the rule! Christ knew that was so. Read His words carefully.

Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:10-12)

Did you notice something? Not "if" men revile you...but "when" they revile you. And not only will they revile you, they will persecute you and say all kinds of evil against you—lies and slanderous accusations. Clearly, Jesus is speaking of being viciously mistreated. It's tough to bear! But the Saviour says you will be "blessed" when you endure it—promising a great reward for your patient, mature endurance.

There are times when the only way servants can make it through such severe times without becoming bitter is by focusing on the ultimate rewards that are promised. Jesus even says we are to "rejoice and be glad" as we think on the great rewards He will give to us in heaven.

Excerpted from Improving Your Serve: The Art of Unselfish Living, Copyright 1981 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. (Thomas Nelson Publishers). All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.