Sunday, August 20, 2006

Receiving The Kingdom Matthew 5:10

Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. I have always dwelled on the words persecuted and theirs is the kingdom, yet today I am struck by the phrase Jesus uses “for righteousness’ sake.” How often has the righteousness I have walked out ever produced the fruit of persecution?

Why should living righteously result in persecution? Because if we are living in righteousness we resemble Christ and this is offensive to those who choose the wide road. The human heart has set itself against God and abhors anything that reminds it of God’s call to be “holy as I Am Holy.” The prophets were persecuted, the apostles were persecuted…the goal is to live to please God and not concern ourselves with pleasing men. Because we live as friends of God, others who reject Him will reject us; it’s not about seeking persecution, its guilt by association. We have chosen the narrow path which leads to life and Godliness. The narrow path results in sacrifice, holiness, and coming out from among sin, but now Jesus is telling us that this same path will result in persecution. So if I a citizen of the Kingdom of heaven will endure persecution, which can be defined as “taking up my cross and following Jesus,” then I gain a promise as well. Promises of a place in the Kingdom where Jesus will rule, reign, and judge the wicked that have persecuted those who choose Jesus. If I have no persecution, how much of a friend of Jesus am I? Those in the kingdom will endure some sort of suffering; where the wicked rise up and curse them, pursue, or punish them.

Lord, it is you who gives me the power to live righteously. Help me to have a righteousness that is deeper than the Pharisees. Let me show display your glory and righteousness as a testimony of You before others. You alone are righteous and you alone can empower me for righteous living. To live worthy of your Name; many have used your name, but few walk in a manner and lifestyle that is worthy to be called a Christ-follower. - Amen


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