By: Dr. Jeff Fuller
Each day I receive text from people far and wide. Some are to ask a question, others to catch up on the latest news, along with a sundry of other invites or casual conversations. But the other day I received a little bit of encouragement from a long-time friend which made me smile, perk up, and think.
The text was:
“Don’t be discouraged cause revival is coming; persecution is too. But Revival is too.”
My response was:
“That’s right. I have seen both shaping up. One is to test, and the other is for testifying.”
He is right on his simple statement. Revival is coming. It is shaping up as we go through the days which seem so terrible, difficult, and troubling. Yet, as revival comes to those who are part of the Body of Christ-believers who visibly make up the invisible church-we are being thrust into a shattering of the slumber to rise and testify of a great, good God!
As for persecution, we are told it is something we will endure. Read the words of Jesus:
“You are blessed when they insult and persecute you and falsely say every kind of evil against you because of Me. Be glad and rejoice, because your reward is great in heaven. For that is how they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:11-12 (HCSB)
You hear those hears? Jesus said we are “blessed.” This word is better understood as “happy.” One writer says this is part of the “Be’s” of Jesus’ teaching. These are “be-attitudes.” An attitude you are to have as a believer.
Paul said it this way:
“Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus…” Philippians 2:5 (HCSB)
Jesus’s first sermon was a “how-to” sermon. It is about living in victory as a believer. Living in such a way others see Jesus in your life. Jesus said we are blessed when we are: poor in spirit, mourn, meek, hunger and thirst for righteousness, merciful, pure in heart, and peacemakers. And then we see He covers persecution.
Notice that the list above, covering eight attitudes, are a part of persecution. These attitudes are developed in the furnace to bring about maturity in the life of the one who endures them as a Christian. To the poor in spirit it means we empty self, seeing ourselves as poor, destitute beggars who will perish without the salvation which comes from the Lord Jesus Christ. When we see ourselves as poor and needy we will begin to mourn for the sins that separate us from God. We will take on a life of meekness, hungering and thirsting for righteousness… See the progression.
This is spiritual growth and will lead to persecution. Some may say, “Well, I am a Christian, and a good person, doing good things…” Please understand, the world is at enmity with the things of God and you will be insulted, lied about, beaten, and battered for the cause of Christ.
“You rejoice in this, though now for a short time you have had to struggle in various trials so that the genuineness of your faith—more valuable than gold, which perishes though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:6-7 (HCSB)
We are told to REJOICE!
The greatest production of spiritual fruit comes in times of persecution.
So, I say, REJOICE!
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your graciousness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:4-7 (HCSB)
Until next time…