Invincibility "R" Us
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matt 5:10)
This coming Sunday we are going to examine the last on the list of the Beatitudes during our series on the Sermon on the Mount, “Up is Down.” “Blessed are those who are persecuted.” “Blessed,” Jesus says! We have a difficult time relating to persecution for our faith. Sure, we know that prayer has been formally taken out of schools. It is frowned upon and even legislated that “In Jesus’ name” be taken out of our public prayers at such events as graduation and high school football games. The Ten Commandments have been taken down from walls in public places where it used to hang as a moral compass for our society. “In God We Trust” is in danger of being removed as a staple on our country’s currency. Retail stores are instructed to hang signage and address people during Christmas with “Happy Holidays,” rather than with the customary, “Merry Christmas.” Freedom of Religion in which our country was founded on seems now to apply to every religion other than Christianity. Still, while we see these disturbing trends escalate and can certainly identify with ridicule and taunting by others because of our faith; overall we are naïve when it comes to persecution. We’ve never experienced the brand of persecution that the church who went before us knew all too well, the torture other Christians are experiencing in other parts of the world today, and the tribulation that awaits the church in the last days.
There is a sense of invincibility in us, like a child never imagining that the dangerous things they do would ever result in injury or death and the prospect of dying of old age is an eternity away. Persecution of the church could not take place now-a-days! Yeah, we hear of it going on in other parts of the world—but not in the good ol’ U.S. of A! I pray that we don’t experience what others have and what others will. The question though is do we love our lives so much as to shrink from death? What or better stated, whom are we living for?
They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. (Rev 12:11)