Firm Foundation with Bryan Hudson
Religion & Spirituality:Christianity
DAY 14 – The Blessing Of Getting Into “Good Trouble” | 21-Day Devotional on Jesus’ Beatitudes and Sermon on the Mount
Matt. 5:10-12, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when men 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 men persecuted the prophets who were before you."
We value a life free from difficulty. There’s nothing wrong with that desire, but life doesn’t always work that way.
We all face difficulties and challenges related to our purpose and tasks. If you are into customer service, you know what it’s like to be personally criticized for something that was not your doing. People are often frustrated and feel the need need to vent to whomever seems to be closest to what frustrates them. If the mail carrier delivers an overdue bill, some people become angry at the person who is only doing his or her job. If one did not study well and then fails an examination, being angry at the teacher does not make sense. There are things about human nature that are irrational and illogical, but this is the reality of human nature.
I remember when I was in art school as a 20 year old, I had a professor who was strict. He seemed to always be critical of my work. One day I called him a racist thinking that he was singling me out because I was Black. His response was “Bryan, you are delivering substandard work. I expect better and you can do better.” I felt that I was being persecuted, but in reality my professor only objectively identified where I was coming short of the standards of this prestigious art school.
Jesus said, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake…”
In this statement, He was not talking about everyday life. Jesus spoke specifically to those who were serving God's purposes, not their own. Persecution is suffering in the service of doing God‘s will. Because many people are at odds with God and living opposite His values, they lash at those who represent God’s purposes and values.
Persecution can take many forms. Apart from martyrdom (death), which is obviously the worst form of persecution, all other forms are intended to inflict some level of emotional pain, mental distress, with the aim towards discouraging further activity in His name. Examples include:
• Physical attacks
• Abusive words
• Rejection of one's message
• Refusal to support
• Slander and speaking negatively to others about the person serving God
But as we like to say, “Don’t get it twisted!” Peter explained:
“Of course, you get no credit for being patient if you are beaten for doing wrong. But if you suffer for doing good and endure it patiently, God is pleased with you.” (1 Peter 2:20, NLT)
Getting in trouble for doing wrong IS NOT persecution! When you suffer for doing good, THIS IS persecution.
As Paul instructed Timothy, “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” (2 Timothy 3:12)
So, the blessing of being persecuted for righteousness sake is that we are in the “good company” of Jesus Christ and all those who suffered doing God’s will. From another context, we remember the late, great John Lewis, who famously said, “Speak up, speak out, get in the way. Get in good trouble, necessary trouble, and help redeem the soul of America.”
We should do the same and more for the Gospel of Christ!
For God’s purposes, what “good trouble” have you experienced?
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