For a number of years, Holy Spirit has shown me a verse or passage for the upcoming year.
PASSAGE FOR 2016
““Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
Matthew 5:6 ESV
Jesus said this during what we call the “Sermon On The Mount” and is one of the “Beatitudes”.
As I read this, I do have a hunger and thirst for righteousness, and a growing desire for more of God’s Word in my mind, heart, and spirit, so this sounds ideal. If I desire more, I will be satisfied.
According to the Miriam Webster Dictionary, the meaning of “satisfy” us:
: to cause (someone) to be happy or pleased
: to provide, do, or have what is required by (someone or something)
: to cause (someone) to believe that something is true
That is easy to accept, that pleases me; that is what I would like or expect God’s Word to do; and I believe and know the Word of God is true.
That should settle it all, here we go into God’s Word to be fed, satisfied.
Hold on now.
Four verses later, in the same talk, Jesus said:
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew 5:10 ESV
Using the same Miriam Webster Dictionary, we find the meaning of “persecute”:
: to treat (someone) cruelly or unfairly especially because of race or religious or political beliefs
: to constantly annoy or bother (someone)
So if we hunger and thirst for righteousness, we will be satisfied. I believe too, that if we hunger and thirst for righteousness, we will keep working towards it, and others will see it.
Again, so, if we are living a righteous life, we can expect persecution. Perhaps that is one way that we will know we are really growing closer to Jesus Christ, and allowing His life to be seen in us.
As a confirmation for us to expect persecution, Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy:
“Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,”
2 Timothy 3:12 ESV
I guess that is to the point of summing it up isn’t it, if we desire to live a Godly life, expect persecution.
How do we react when we are on the receiving end of persecution for living like Jesus? Do we get angry with Jesus that it is allowed? Do we get angry with the one who persecuted? Do we change our lifestyle so our Godly walk is not so noticeable when others are around?
Let’s see what God’s Word says:
“But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,”
Matthew 5:44 ESV
“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.”
Romans 12:14 ESV
Jesus said to “love our enemies and pray for those who persecute”.
(Knowing Jesus, He did not mean to pray curses or evil against them).
Apostle Paul wrote to “bless those who persecute you, and do not curse them).
Confirmation again in case we misunderstood Jesus, or skipped that part.
We just have to look at the life of our Lord Jesus, the Christ, to see how to act and react.
His life was completely pure and Godly, but we see how He was persecuted. Even after being beaten and nailed to the cross, He prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing”.
Since Jesus could pray that in His situation, surely we can act in a similar manner in ours. I realize for some people, the home situation is difficult if other family members are not Christ Followers, but Jesus is our Strength, and Holy Spirit is within us and will guide us.
In the workplace it can be extremely difficult at times also, as I have experienced in the past, but knowing Jesus is with us, regardless of what happens, gives Peace in the midst of turmoil.
We can pray for Holy Spirit to soften the heart of all who persecute, and ask Holy Spirit to convict them unto righteousness. Continue to treat the person with kindness, care, respect, and love, even if in our fleshly eyes they don’t deserve it, look at them through the eyes of Christ.
Also if possible, have Christ Following friends join with you in prayer, and pray for you also.
The victory is ours in Jesus.