“Blessed are those who are persecuted” (Matthew 5:10)
It is estimated that there are over 215 million persecuted Christians in the world. When we think about the persecution of Christians, we generally limit their geographical location to the other side of the world. However, in recent years we have experienced persecution knocking at our American back doors. One popular talk show host called Christianity, “mental illness.” Another well known politician said that, “Christians must deny their faith through the enforcement of laws.” Recently a writer for the New York Times blamed evangelical Christians for the coronavirus. The Center for Global Christianity has determined that Christians are the “most persecuted religious group in the world.” Friends, it is time that we wake-up. Persecution is not only knocking at our back door, it is kicking the door in.
We should not be surprised at this. Persecution for our faith has been expected. History proves that the sin nature persecutes, bullies, ridicules, and oppresses that which it does not understand. The apostle Paul clarified that truth in II Corinthians 2:16 this way, “To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom.” The reason Christians are seen by others this way, Paul explained in his first letter to the Corinthians when he wrote, “People who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means.” (I Corinthians 2:14)
Without the Holy Spirit, people are left to draw their reasonings and conclusions from human knowledge. They can only conclude what they determine as truth from their own natural insight. They are what the bible calls “unregenerate.” Those who are influenced by their natural instincts, passions, and desires. They reject God’s truth as being folly.
But we who have the Holy Spirit are governed by a different power. Paul wrote in I Corinthians 2:10, “But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets.” The unsaved only have their human reasoning to guide them, but we who are in Christ learn by the revelation of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps that is why Jesus said, “blessed are those who are persecuted.”
In the days ahead we are going to experience more and more persecution for our faith. Don’t get angry at those who do the persecuting. Their words and behavior are what we should expect from people who can only understand what their human reasoning tells them. Realize that because we know something they do not, it is our calling to show them a much better way to live.