I just finished reading in Matthew 5 during my Time Alone With God (TAWG). This chapter was chalked full of amazing sections of scripture. At first glance I was sure my main focus in this blog would be on the Beatitudes as they are so well known and I’ve heard so many sermons that are solely focused around them. And yes, I’ll be focusing a bit of my blog on the persecution portion of the Beatitudes. But, I also want to talk a bit about the importance of us as Christians being “The Light of the World”.
Let’s first take a look at this section of scripture on persecution, “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 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, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:10-12 NIV). Just let that sink in... “BLESSED are those who are persecuted... for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven”. Remember, even in the midst of persecution, that your reward is in Heaven. Just know that Satan is jealous of your reward in Heaven, because he has been damned to Hell, so of course he will see to it that you are persecuted in your time here on Earth. “Rejoice and be glad” in the midst of this persecution, not only because you know your reward is in Heaven, but also because it is extremely confusing to the enemy. Also, remember that you are not alone in this persecution, the prophets before you, AND Jesus Himself, were persecuted because of righteousness.
Let’s take this response to persecution a step further by following what the scripture says in Matthew 5:44, “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”. Jesus was flogged, spit on, mocked and beat over the head while wearing a crown of thorns, betrayed and denied by His very best friends, and finally nailed to a cross (crucified). All of this happened and He still had nothing but love for ALL people, even those that had persecuted Him the most. One of the last things Jesus said while hanging on the cross was, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”. Jesus set an amazing example for us in that very moment. Knowing all that Jesus went through, and then seeing that He not only loves and forgives EVERYONE, but that He also asks His Father in Heaven to do that same, is so beautiful. Let’s truly begin to love and pray for our enemies (persecutors) and just watch the amazing work that God will do through our obedience.
The final portion of scripture that I want to take a look at in this chapter is, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16 NIV). Too many Christians today are silent about the fact that they are Christians. Many Christians seem to just want to ‘fit in’ and not appear different from non believers. Well, here is a reality check, as Christians, WE ARE DIFFERENT! We love and pray for our enemies and those who persecute us for crying out loud. We do our very best to walk in the ‘fruits of the Spirit’, which are “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23 NIV). The fact that we are Christians SHOULD BE attractive to others, especially if we are walking in the fruits of the Spirit. So, “let your light shine before others”, as that light will shine on others and hopefully attract them and pull them out of the darkness they are choosing to live in. YOU are blessed and called to be “the light of the world”, so please, “Let YOUR light shine before others."
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