Joy in tribulations!
Verse for Today: Sunday, May 20, 2012
Matthew 5:10 – Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Persecution is a willful act which demonstrates hatred and resentment. There is physical as well as mental persecution. Physical persecution tests our physical endurance. It hurts our bodies and inflicts pain and weariness. It can take the form of denial of our right to food, water or a place to sleep and can go to the extent of bodily injury and mutilation. Mental persecution is inflicted on our emotions and affections. It isolates, rejects, resents, uses verbal abuses and dirty language, threats and intimidation. It comes with stark lies and distortions and makes us accountable for no offence of ours. Persecutors enjoy sadistic pleasure on their prey that is often weaker than them by physical might or power supported by law. When God’s children stand for righteousness, truth, honesty, morality and the rights of the depraved class in the society, we are persecuted as if we have committed some major legal offences. When our stand for God creates inconveniences for our detractors, they turn around and persecute us either physically or mentally and sometimes both. They cook up evidences against us to destroy our credibility and testimony. Their atrocities against us take away our peace and sleep. Their hatred and envy give us heaviness of heart. But the Lord Jesus Christ tells us today that we can cast all the pain from our persecution on Him and be joyful in Him. He suffered persecution for us, but endured it all without any grumbling. He set His heart on the joy that would come from the salvation of our soul and suffered it all with divine happiness. We are challenged today to set our hearts at rest in the Lord and be happy in spite of our painful circumstances.
Dear friend, are you being harassed and intimidated by others around you because of your stand for the Lord? Perhaps the persecution you are undergoing has become unbearable to you. It has probably become a greater challenge because you are suffering for the sake of truth and sincerity. It is felt more intensely because it comes from those who are close to us, like family, friends, kith and kin, colleagues and neighbors, and sometimes even from fellow believers. When Paul and Silas suffered persecution, they sang songs and celebrated their persecution as a privilege to suffer for the Lord. When Peter was persecuted and imprisoned, he slept peacefully and enjoyed a time of rest even in a prison cell. Joseph endured imprisonment without grumbling and waited patiently for the Lord to give him a release. David suffered persecution of various kinds and had to run for life. But even those moments of intense pressure, the Lord gave him songs in the night to sing along and filled him with the spirit of prayer. God’s servants like Daniel, Jeremiah, Paul and Stephen suffered persecution, but they never lost their composure in the Lord. They were all happy in the Lord in the midst of persecution and intimidations. They considered it a joy to suffer persecution for the Lord and for His cause. The same Lord is with us today as we stand for Him and serve Him. His Spirit is the Spirit of joy and peace and not of confusion and distress. When we seek after the power of the Spirit of God through true brokenness, the Lord will fill us with His Spirit who will endue us with the blessed experience of being joyful in spite of persecution. We will then be able to live as blessed people exhibiting the qualities of true joy and happiness in spite of circumstances and situations.
2 Corinthians 4:8-9 – We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
Thought for Today
True disciples enjoy true blessedness when they go through persecution.
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