by Rick Warren — May 26, 2023
From The Keys to a Blessed Life
“God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven.”
Matthew 5:10-12 (NLT)
When you feel pressured by the world because you love Jesus and other people don’t, you need to remember three things:
1. Opposition can make you more like Jesus.
Jesus says in John 15:18-20, “If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you. Do you remember what I told you? ‘A slave is not greater than the master.’ Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you” (NLT).
If you’re going to mature and be like Jesus Christ, you’re going to have to go through the things Jesus went through, including loneliness, discouragement, stress, and temptation. Why would God spare you when he didn’t spare his own Son from those things?
2. Opposition will deepen your faith.
Your faith is like a muscle. A muscle doesn’t grow when you sit in a chair and eat popcorn. A muscle grows by being stretched, strained, and tested. You’re never going to grow a muscle if no weight is ever pulling in the opposite direction.
If you don’t have opposition in your life, your faith is not growing. The strongest believers in the world right now are those who are having their faith tested the most. The Bible says in 1 Peter 1:7, “These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world” (NLT).
3. Opposition will lead to eternal rewards.
Matthew 5:10-12 says, “God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven” (NLT).
God will bless everyone who’s persecuted for living for him. But notice that you don’t get rewarded for being rude or obnoxious. If you live a self-righteous life when you get persecuted, you’re not a martyr; you’re a fool.
You don’t get rewarded for being rude. You get rewarded for being like Jesus. When you live out your faith, do it with gentleness and respect, just like Jesus, and you will be rewarded for it one day in heaven.
Whenever you’re harassed for your faith, remember these three things: Opposition can make you more like Jesus, deepen your faith, and lead to eternal rewards in heaven.