November 12, 2006

Suffering for Your Faith (2)

1 Peter 4:12-19

"Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom ..." Matthew 5:10


Many of us who read these devotions have never been imprisoned or persecuted for believing in Jesus Christ. In Canada, where I live, I am free to go to church and worship. I can go to as many Bible studies and prayer meetings as I want. Others of us in some parts of the world, however, have suffered terribly for having faith in Jesus. We must all be prepared, as Jesus has made clear: "If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also" (John 15:20).

We must remember also that Jesus is talking about being "persecuted because of righteousness." He also taught that we should "seek first [God's] kingdom and his righteousness" (Matthew 6:33). When we start living as citizens of God's kingdom, we can expect opposition. When we speak out against the ills of society, people will brand us. Many of us Christians today do not sufficiently challenge the unrighteousness in the culture around us. Believers who seek God's kingdom and righteousness strive against immorality and injustice in their communities, care for poor and disadvantaged people, and share the love of God wherever they are. When you become a Christian, you learn to stand for the right. You study the Bible to learn how you should live. Though you are not of the world, you stand in the world as a follower of Jesus Christ.

Lord Jesus, we know you were persecuted for our sake. Give us the strength and courage to stand up for your sake as we seek God's kingdom in this world. Amen.

About the author — Jerry Hoytema

Pastor Jerry Hoytema is a retired minister living in Ontario. In his retirement he has served several churches as an interim pastor. He and his wife, Winnie, have four children and 13 grandchildren.

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