Read His Words Before Ours!
What do you think about when you hear the word persecution? Reviled?
My first thought is of Christians throughout the world who do not live with as much freedom as I enjoy. I think of those in China who meet together and spread God’s word in spite of the ever-looming possibility of arrest. I remember our brothers and sisters in countries where other religions dominate the culture, and who face uphill battles every day of being ridiculed or cast out from society. I think of believers in North Korea, who secretly meet underground to worship and share the Good News, even though it’s an offense punishable by death.
I recently heard a story about a young Muslim man who met some Christians in the desert. They told him if he wanted to meet Jesus, he could. He then had a beautiful encounter with the light and peace of our Lord, and Jesus continued to meet him in every space, in the darkest of times.
Because of his faith, he endured great persecution. He was confined to a jail cell and physically tortured for talking about Jesus. He was shot, stabbed, shamed, ridiculed, and thrown off a cliff for telling his family about this amazing Jesus he now knew so intimately.
That is what comes to mind when I think of persecution and revilement.
Maybe you’ve experienced some more severe forms of persecution, similar to what I mentioned above, because of your faith in Jesus. In which case, I am in awe of the strength and power of God in you! Keep fighting tenaciously for the hope set before us!
However, I would dare to boldly say every Jesus follower has experienced persecution and revilement.
The original Greek words in the Scripture are dioko for persecuted and oneidizo for reviled. The translation for dioko holds the imagery of someone being chased or hunted down aggressively in an effort to stop them. Oneidizo reveals a more verbal mode of persecution in the form of insults, mocking, and evil language.
In the midst of trying to be the hands and feet of Jesus, have you ever felt pretty much every possible roadblock came up against you? Perhaps you brushed it off as coincidence, or maybe even as a “sign” you’re meant to do something else.
Let me tell you this: our enemy, Satan, is out there seeking to steal, kill, and destroy every plan to further the kingdom of God. So, maybe you haven’t been persecuted by another human or man-made institution, but friend, Satan is persecuting us daily in an attempt to draw us away from our true identity in Christ and our unique calling in God’s Kingdom.
Those lies you hear in your head about your work, skills, dreams, passion, or appearance?
They’re revilement by the enemy.
That flat tire you got on your way to volunteer at the homeless shelter to which God
That’s persecution by the enemy.
We’ve all been there, whether we recognize it or not.
Persecution doesn’t happen because there’s something wrong with us,
or because of our reaction to God’s Word,
or when we fall into sin.
Persecution happens when we seek God and follow Him.
Jesus promised us this.
In Matthew 5, Jesus tells us those who are persecuted and reviled because of Him are blessed.
Excuse me, Jesus? Did You say blessed?! There must be some mistake because this is not any sort of blessing I would like to have.
The crippling lies I hear?
The dream job from which I was fired?
The relationship that ended?
That precious baby I lost?
NOTHING about those situations made me feel blessed.
So, how exactly are we blessed by being reviled and persecuted? Through each and every step we take in the valley of persecution to continue pursuing our true God-given identity, we are drawing closer to God and furthering His Kingdom. We can be certain, when darkness overshadows us along the path God has laid before us, we are doing Kingdom work. We have a daily, eternal perspective that even though we are chased down and mocked and insulted, we will one day inherit the riches of God’s glory in our Heavenly home! How blessed are we?!
“I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.” – Jesus (John 16:33)
Go forth, fellow Sister in Jesus, advance God’s Kingdom through His power in you.
Be reviled and persecuted, and be blessed!
Want to be challenged in your faith in some radical ways?!
Check out these incredible, true life stories of faith in the face of persecution!
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Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!