If you live a godly life, you will be persecuted. You can count on this. It is not a matter of if; it is a matter of when and how much.
We love to claim the promises of God. We love to claim His promises of provision and protection. But how many of us have claimed this promise: "Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution" (2 Timothy 3:12)? I haven't. Who likes to be persecuted?
Yet Jesus said, "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 5:10-11).
In all the other beatitudes, the word "blessed" is used once, but in this particular beatitude, Jesus used the word "blessed" twice to emphasize the generous blessing given by God to the persecuted.
Righteousness, by its very nature, is confrontational. The very fact that you believe in Jesus bothers some people, because Jesus said, "For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed" (John 3:20).
People give a lot of excuses as to why they are not Christians, but I would say the real reason people do not come to Christ is they don't want their evil deeds exposed. They don't want to admit they are sinners.
You are a representative of Christ. And the reality is that if you follow Jesus, then you will face persecution. Because "all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution."
Taken from "The Promise of Persecution" by Harvest Ministries (used by permission).