The children and I have been learning Matthew 5 together. At the rate we are going, it will be fall before we have completed it ;0), but we are learning some great truths as we move along.
It is amazing how God's Word is always fresh and how my soul is always in need of more teaching and shaping from Him.
When we came to the end of the Beattitudes, I noticed how the Lord concluded that little section with teaching on persecution and then went on into verses 11 and 12 elaborating on how our response should be to such suffering.
"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you" (Matthew 5:10-12).
As we learned this together, I realized my attitude toward persecution and suffering for righteousness' sake had been way off target. I could understand verse 10, fully agreeing that those who were persecuted should be considered "blessed." However, the "rejoice and be exceedingly glad," is what cut to my heart.
Before, I had felt compassion for those experiencing persecution and wanted to help our brothers and sisters around the world who undergo such terrible suffering for the name of our Lord. Yet, I would always pray and thank Him that we do not experience that type of persecution in our country. I would remind our children of how thankful we should be for that reason.
After reading Jesus' words, I am convicted that I so want to avoid persecution. According to Him, it is not something to despise and from which to hide; it is something that should bring rejoicing and brings Christ's blessings.
This is so against the ways of the flesh. This kind of attitude and thinking does not come naturally and doesn't even seem to make sense.
I am praying that God would change my attitude and thinking in this area to line up with His.
"Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 2:5).
What has God been teaching you lately? Share and comment and encourage me and others with what you are learning in your walk with Him!
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