• Retief Burger

Defenders of the truth DAY 25

Updated: Apr 21, 2020

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven

Matthew 5:10

I’m not sure if you know that many Christians across the world are still persecuted for their faith. Many of them almost permanently have to live in lockdown. This might come as a surprise to us, but not to them. Jesus warned his followers that persecution will be part of the Christian life. As we almost come to the end of our time in the Beatitudes, we must first look back. The seven preceding beatitudes have actually built up to this last one. I inaccurately said in my first devotion that there are nine, but in actual fact the last two repeats to form the climax of what Jesus is saying.

We basically have a description of the character of the Christian in the first seven beatitudes.

· He is a man that is poor in spirit. i.e. Not self-asserting, aggressive or arrogant.

· He is meek. i.e. does not have an exalted opinion of himself, with an inner strength that is under submission to God.

· He hungers and thirsts after righteousness. He longs to do the right thing. He seeks to treat others as he would like to be treated.

· He is merciful. Not seeking revenge, or is not possessed by a get-even mentality.

· He is pure in heart. Wholeheartedly devoted to God.

· He is a peacemaker. He does not go around stirring up strife, but rather seeks to bring reconciliation wherever he can.

How do we think will the world’s attitude be towards a person like this? A world where the word of the decade is ‘selfie’. A world where so many will do anything to gain and not to give. Will such a person be given a reward? The last beatitude reveals the answer…

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

I watched a documentary the other day about the underground church and was deeply challenged. Sheep among wolves, a short film about the fastest growing church in the world, made this verse real to me. You can watch it here We might not feel the persecution as strongly as they, but it is here and it is coming on fast. In the Western world it mostly has to do with truth. What seemed unthinkable 100 years ago is now the norm and dare we say anything against it, we are persecuted. But this should not surprise followers of Christ, who believe there is an absolute truth, rooted and founded in God and his Word.

What also struck me is that the promise of this verse “for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” is the same as with the first beatitude. Those with a poor spirit. Those, as I have previously shared, who are spiritually bankrupt and in desperate need of a Saviour. The promise of an eternal inheritance and hope shines brightly. May we not be silent in this season with the Greatest News ever. Will we offend? Unfortunately yes, but that is what truth sometimes must do before it can bring about true change.

Stay safe and stand strong.

Retief Burger

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