“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to them. Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you and say all kinds of evil things about you falsely on account of me. Rejoice and be glad because your reward is great in heaven, for they persecuted the prophets before you in the same way.” (Matt. 5:10-12 NET)
The Fundamental Law of motion, designed by the all-wise God and discovered and revealed to us by Sir Issac Newton, says that we move forward whilst walking or running, not just by exerting the force on earth with our feet by ourselves, but also by the propulsive force that the earth exerts in return when we first exert force on it. How true in the spiritual realm also. Simply put, the act of Gospel advancement by spiritually-vibrant Christians is always countered by the resisting forces of Evil. (The words, “spiritually-vibrant Christians” are used advisedly here, for only the spiritually vibrant Christians like Apostle Paul can do the same.) Thus, Gospel advancement is essentially, “a fight between the liberating truth on one side and the lies of the Devil on the other”.
How often in Christian history have we not witnessed the breaking out of persecution; but has it registered on us that these persecutions that exert pressure in the opposite direction to the Gospel advancement have actually induced further beneficial growth of the persecuted Christians (Romans 5:3-4/James 1:2)? Has it registered on us that this makes them “move forward”, as it were, spiritually? Truth be told, minus the persecutions (the scope of which is also limited by the infinitely Wise God See1 Cor. 10:13), the Apostle Paul, along with the genuine Christians of the different stages of human history, would not have grown spiritually to the extent desired by the Master.
The persecuted church, like in the times of the cruel Roman Emperors of say, Nero’s or Domitian’s day, was always a healthy Church. With the arrival of Roman Emperor Constantine, however, who favoured Christianity, the Church came into a constant state of back-sliding. It had slipped steadily, in fact, all the way into the Dark Ages before the God-inspired reformation wrought by Martin Luther.
Say Fellow Sojourner…are you being persecuted? Are sentiments of revenge enveloping you? Depend on the strength of the joy-giving Holy Spirit (Nehemiah 8:10/Romans 15:13/1 Peter 1:8) to push forward and to overcoming natural, carnal impulses for the glory of God! Hey, in the process, your patience, meekness and gentleness is bound to grow, also for His glory!
Prayer: Father, enable me to cling to You in all situations whereby my sustenance in all situations (good or bad) is guaranteed. In Jesus’ Name. Amen