Jesus said, “Blessed are you when men insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they treated the prophets who came before you.”
Really? Can this be done? Can we really become not only indifferent but joyful when rejected? This has to be a work of the Spirit; in the natural, this is a real impossibility.
So, let’s look at this…insulted, persecuted, slandered…rejoicing and gladness…great reward in heaven…treated like the prophets.
This blessing is going to take great faith to realize. Are we really going to depend on heavenly rewards instead of earthly rewards? Are we really going to willingly suffer like the prophets of old?
This is where I would like to insert a hearty “Amen!” Prudence tells me to be a little more cautious. It is one thing to listen to the preaching. Another to accept it as true. But entirely a whole different animal to live it.
It requires a mentality divorced from natural human expectations and hopes. So much of what we desire is earth bound. We need much grace if we are going to shift all of our expectations and hopes to our eternal rewards.
So, let us “Set our hopes completely on the grace to be given us when Christ is revealed.” For, “Without faith, it is impossible to please God. For whoever comes to him must believe that he exists and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him.”
Jesus said, “He who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”
We must have a change of citizenship, a shift in loyalties.
He also said, “How can you believe when you receive honor from one another and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God?”
And I do not think that he meant for this last question to be rhetorical. The answer is “You can’t.” They are mutually exclusive.
To believe in God means that our hopes and our pursuits are grounded in pleasing him.
And this necessitates forsaking the need to be pleasing to men.
May the “Only Wise God” be gracious to us and bestow upon us abundant mercy and courage to run our race, fight the good fight, and keep the faith!
~ Brad Heilhecker