“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven.” Matthew 5:11
Rejoice and be glad?
Surely not what His disciples expected to hear. It sounds so contrary to human nature. Being reviled by others, persecuted for our faith, spoken ill of and lied about on account of our love for Jesus Christ – rejoice and be glad? Not likely our first response, or second, third or fourth. I suspect it would take several responses before we get to rejoice and be glad.
Why is Jesus encouraging such a response?
“…for your reward is great in heaven.” Jesus takes our focus off the immediate, the pain and suffering that comes with persecution, and casts a long view vision, reward in heaven.
“But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High.” Luke 6:35
Again… Love your enemies? Not our natural inclination but Jesus points his finger to heaven. He takes our eyes off of the natural and points to the supernatural. In my sanctified imagination, I can see us standing with Jesus, kicking the dirt with our toes, complaining about the mistreatment, unfairness and wickedness of the way we are being treated. Jesus reaching out to lift our chin, tilting our heads toward heaven, saying, “There’s more. There is so much more. This is nothing compared to what awaits you, My child. ‘Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.’”
Let me ask you a few questions I have asked myself recently. Do you live daily in light of heaven? Do you take seriously the rewards that await you in heaven? Do you make choices so as to maximize your heavenly reward?
Serious food-for-thought today.
Diane Hunt is a Biblical Counselor, Women’s conference and retreat speaker and author. She serves as the Director of Partner Care and Director of Women’s Ministries at America’s Keswick. She and her husband John have two married children and four grandchildren. She loves reveling in warm sunny climates and playing with her grandchildren.
i Colossians 3:2