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Being persecuted is better than living outside God’s presence

Last updated on March 3, 2022

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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, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthews 5:11-12)

When we follow Jesus’ steps and live in agreement with Him, we experience the joy of God’s presence. Moreover, Jesus calls us “blessed” and promises a great reward when we are persecuted for His sake.
The apostle Peter tried to avoid persecution. When Jesus was arrested and interrogated, Peter denied Him. He even swore that he did not know “this man”, because he was so afraid to be arrested himself for being a disciple of Jesus. His trick worked and he escaped. But when he realized what he had done, he broke down and wept bitterly (Matthew 26:75).

Yes, following Jesus comes with a cost. It may get really tough if you are persecuted for righteousness’ sake. But running away does not bring you lasting joy. Outside of God’s presence, there is just darkness. Peter had denied Jesus, but Jesus forgave him and restored him as an apostle. Only then did Peter find new joy and peace. With this personal experience in mind, Peter encourages his readers: “Even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled…” (1 Peter 3:14).

In God’s presence is peace and joy — despite persecution.

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