In Jesus’ day, it was assumed that his followers would face trouble and persecution. Although many of us in North America haven’t yet faced overt persecution because of our faith, I truly think we’re headed in that direction.
With this in mind, last week we discussed how we should expect to be different, how we should prepare to be persecuted, how to respond if and when it happens, and how we’re not alone.
But the picture isn’t complete if we don’t remember this: To keep our eye on the prize.
In Matthew 5:11-12, Jesus says, “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven…”
He tells his listeners that they are BLESSED when they are persecuted, and that they should REJOICE. Why wouldn’t they? Their REWARD is great in heaven!
And then there’s this. How you respond to hardship will be a part of your legacy. The crop of your life, the ripple of your life… can be a source of inspiration for those who come after you—people who, by the way, will most likely be even more different for following Jesus than you are.
When you feel like you’re going against the wind, keep your eye on the prize, your ear tuned to the voice of Jesus, and your hand to the oar of love.
Keep going. Your reward is great in heaven.
By Matthew Ruttan
–Bible quotes are from the NIV.