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December 5, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.”—Matthew 5:10 (NLT)
I once read this quote: “When you do the right thing, good stuff has a way of happening.” I used to believe this—that if I did right, I’d be rewarded. And while this is true sometimes, over the years I’ve also learned some hard lessons about this mentality.
I’ve learned that my definition of “good” and “right” don’t always align with that of the general population. What we as believers know to be right based on God’s truth is now considered narrow-minded, bigoted, and ignorant. We’ve been told it puts us on the wrong side of history. “They say that what is right is wrong and what is wrong is right” (Isaiah 5:20 TLB) and have “exchanged the truth of God for a lie” (Romans 1:25 NASB). Even worse, I’ve noticed when we don’t agree with the world, we’re ostracized, shamed, and persecuted.
As harsh and disheartening as this may seem, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to us. In fact, Jesus—and His apostles—told us this would happen, that we’d be persecuted for our faith (John 15:18, 20; Romans 8:35; 1 Thessalonians 3:4; 2 Timothy 3:12; 1 Peter 4:12). But don’t let this discourage you, because in addition to letting us know we’d be persecuted for His sake, the Lord Jesus offers this reassurance: “God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right” (Matthew 5:10 NLT).
The definition for doing right (dikaiosuné) is “God's judicial approval.” It reminds me of Romans 8:33–34 (NLT), where the apostle Paul also uses legal jargon to state, “Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.”
Believer, throughout your life you will be persecuted in some capacity for your right standing with God. Some believers will even lose their lives in His name . . . but stand strong and assured in this: “for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs” (Matthew 5:3 NLT). All of us who have received Christ, who have been given right standing with Him, are made heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ through His love. And guess what? “Nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39 NLT).
DIG: Have you ever been made to feel bad because of your faith? Have you been ridiculed, mistreated, ostracized, or excluded because you pursue righteousness?
DISCOVER: Why do you believe this happens?
DISPLAY: Spend time praying for believers around the world who are being ridiculed, excluded, alienated, persecuted, and killed for their faith. Pray for the Spirit to provide in them—and us—the same strength, grace, and perseverance shown by Stephen in Acts 7.
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.