“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:3-11 ESV)
Focus of the Month: Jesus Teaches: The Sermon on the Mount/Beatitudes
Have you ever experienced harassment for choosing to be honorable? Vexation for virtuousness? Maltreated for modesty? Persecuted for purity? Hounded due to holiness? The world doesn’t know, nor understand, a Christian’s consecration to Christ. To those who choose to walk in love, in holiness, in righteousness, persecution will come. But there is a promise we can cling to – a reward for righteousness:
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:10)
It’s not easy to endure the pressures from the world and remain steadfast in righteousness. It takes consistent commitment, unwavering faith, enduring strength, and resolute trust in God – in His word, His promises, His faithfulness, and His character.
When we make a stand to choose God’s ways over man’s, persecution will come. We are blessed to be in a nation of religious freedoms. In the United States of America, we typically don’t have to worry about being tortured or murdered because of our beliefs and convictions to walk in holiness, purity, and righteousness. However, there are plenty of social persecutions, isolation, and reviling from the world toward those who choose righteousness. And because of those persecutions and pressures, it can be challenging to stand resolute in His righteousness.
Let’s not be ignorant of these revolts against us as we grow in Christ and make decisions according to His righteousness – His truth – His holiness. Jesus told us the world isn’t coming against us – but against Christ in us. He said everyone who does evil hates the Light. In Psalms it is recorded that as we declare and stand for peace, others will be at war with us.
In order to stand unwaveringly in His righteousness – especially in the face of opposition – we must cling to the promise of God, believing His word is true and He performs it on our behalf. According to Jesus’ words, as recorded in Matthew 5:10, as we stand steadfast in righteousness, our is the Kingdom of Heaven. But what does that mean?
Jesus said in Matthew 13 that the Kingdom of Heaven was likened unto a great treasure that people would sell all in order to obtain. In Matthew 20, Jesus taught that in the Kingdom of Heaven, the last shall be first and the first shall be last. Paul wrote in Romans 14:17 that the Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and joy n the Holy Spirit.
So, as we commit to consecrate ourselves to Christ and to live according to His ways, opposing the world’s influences, we do have a reward – a treasure more valuable than anything else we could ever obtain; a position in the heavenly places; and righteousness, peace and joy in His manifested presence.
Regardless of the struggles to remain in His righteousness, the reward is ever-present and forever-standing. Do you want the reward of righteousness? Be willing to withstand some persecution – some opposing pressures. It’s a stand worth taking. It’s a fight worth enduring. He who promises is faithful to perform. Let His righteousness shine through you. Take your place in His kingdom and rest in your reward.
Holding Fast to Hope,
Scripture References: Matthew 5:10; 13L44, 20:16; John 3:20, 7:7; Psalm 120:7; Psalm 119:140; Jeremiah 1:12