Followers of God

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.

What does this verse, Matthew 5:11-12 (NLT), mean? What is God saying to us through it? Whether we immediately notice it or not, or whether it requires the help of others, every part of the Bible has meaning. God’s Word, written by men, says what is says for a reason. So what is this verse saying? Let’s take a look.

The first part says, “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.” This is part of Jesus’ famous “Sermon on the Mount”. It comes after a part that says some things like, “God blesses those who are poor, those who mourn, those who are humble.” There are quite a few more. Some of them are easy to understand, some require a bit of thought. One thing that is quite obvious to see is that it ties in quite nicely with verse 11.

What it is saying that, because we follow Jesus, people “mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you”. We can see this at times when we tell others that we’re Christians, or when we try to share the Gospel with them. A lot of them will laugh at us, or think we’re crazy–others may even get mad at us. But then, why do we do it? Because there will always be one or two people who consider what we say. People who may be open to us sharing God’s Word, God’s love, God’s saving grace with them.

Let’s see what happens in verse two: “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.” Like I said, this is a bit more confusing. I mean, you hear the words, “persecute”, “mock”, “lie”, and “evil”, and you don’t exactly get good thoughts, do you? The first though that comes to your mind is probably, “Well, I’m sorry for the person going through that; thank goodness I’m not dealing with that!” or “Why do I have to deal with this? Why me?”

Well, it’s pretty easy to think like that, at least until we get to the next two sentences, which says, “For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.” First off, God will reward us when we stand up for Him in the world around us, whether it’s at school or work or whatever you do, wherever you are when you interact with others. We may not be rewarded here, on earth, but we are storing up eternal reward in heaven. Isn’t that awesome? Plus, we see from what the second part says, it’s not just something we go through today. Literally thousands of years ago, God’s prophets were being persecuted, just like we are.

Why don’t we, as followers of God, stand up for Him? Remember these verses. God will give you strength during persecution, and you will be blessed!

TTT

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