God Blesses Those Who Are Put Down Because of Him
By Rick Warren
“God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way” (Matthew 5:11-12 NLT).
Taking a stand for God won’t just impact you and those you care about in this life. It’ll have an eternal impact.
When you’re afraid to speak up for God in your everyday life, that’s natural and normal. But it’s also temporary. That fear will just stay with you for a few moments.
The benefits to courageously speaking out for God will stay with you for trillions and trillions and trillions of years.
Jesus says this in the Sermon on the Mount: “God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way” (Matthew 5:11-12 NLT).
Notice that these verses don’t say you’re blessed if people put you down because you’re being obnoxious. I hear many people who complain about being persecuted for being a Christian when actually they’re put down because they’re just not being nice to others.
You get no credit for that.
But if you’re persecuted for humbly speaking up for truth, Jesus says you can be happy. Why? God will reward you in heaven.
When you get to heaven, I want you to have a lot of rewards. I want you to be rewarded because you had the courage to stand up at work and say, “I am a believer in Christ. I know not everybody agrees with this, but he’s changed my life and I’m so grateful. I don’t serve him out of duty; I serve him out of love. I’m just so grateful. My past has been forgiven, I have a purpose for living, I have a home in heaven.”
When you get condemned, persecuted, and teased for doing that, Jesus says you’re in good company. People have done that to God’s witnesses and prophets for ages and ages. It’s part of the deal. Darkness can’t stand the light. Evil can’t stand goodness.
But when that happens, Jesus says, “Don’t worry about it. You’ll be rewarded for your courage in heaven.”
Talk It Over
How does it help you handle persecution knowing that God will reward you in eternity for your faithfulness?
How does the faithful witness of believers through the ages help you stand strong amid harassment by others for your faith?
What’s one way God is calling you to demonstrate courage and speak out for him despite inevitable criticism?
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This devotional © 2017 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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