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Bless Those Who Persecute You-Part I

Bless Those Who Persecute You-Part I
25-Ways to Honor God-Number 14

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)

We are looking at a series of devotionals which are revealing 25-ways to bring glory and honor to God - these are actually duties or responsibilities for every Christian. We find these 25-ways in Romans 12:9-21.   

Today we will be looking at the first of our duties as Christian men and women to "All People." These include every Christian believer, or non-believer that we come in contact with.  And that first duty to everyone is also our 14th way to honor God.  

14.    Bless those who persecute you (Rom 12:14)

As we begin to take a look at this next set of duties to "All people," we will start with the one that is probably the hardest to complete.  In fact, without God, it would be impossible to do this with any consistency.  You may be successful to a certain extent, but eventually you will come to the end of your own capabilities and eventually retaliate against evil with evil.  Thankfully, all things are possible with God.

To not retaliate is one thing - but to actually bless someone who has persecuted you is entirely another, and it goes against everything that is in our fleshly nature.  But we are exhorted in this scripture to do exactly that when we are told to, "Bless those who persecute you."

I want you to think about something here for just a second or two and to be totally honest, and then I am going to ask you a question - think about the last time someone came against you; perhaps by physically striking you; emotionally hurting you; maybe someone called you out on something, embarrassing you, or just plain tried to get you fired from your job.

Q:  Was blessing them the first thing that came to your mind in the midst of that persecution?

Chances are the answer is, "No." Chances are your thoughts were to repay that evil with an equal evil - and we will discuss that more in our next way to honor God (Bless and Do Not Curse).  

God tells us within His Word that in order for us to be obedient and faithful, that we are to repay evil with kindness - and therefore we are to actually bless those people who come against us.  Jesus gave us the example and model to follow in Luke.

 "But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either.  Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. Luke 6:27-30(NKJV)

We must understand that we can only do this with the Agape love that comes from God, and not of our own abilities (See Duty #1
"Let Love be without hypocrisy").  

Many people have a hard time with this command of blessing those who persecute us, and Jesus knew this would be the case; so He continues a few verses later explaining why we must, as Christians, be able to act in this Agape way.

 "But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same." Luke 6:32-33 (NKJV)

We need to understand that Jesus isn't asking us to do something that is impossible.  He Himself was tempted in this way, and He Himself turned to His Father for strength, and overcame, and we are to do the same.  

For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:15 (NKJV)

We see Jesus modeling this great act of forgiveness, blessing, and Agape love as He was dying for our sins on the cross of Calvary.  In His final words, He interceded for those who had ridiculed, mocked, spit upon, and persecuted Him to the point of death - and at this point He uttered these final words of blessing:

 "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do." Luke 23:34 (NKJV)

In part II of this devotion, we will continue to look at this and find some practical applications for our life.

STUDY QUESTION: What can we learn with respect to blessing those who persecute us by the Scriptures contained within this devotional?

PERSONAL INVENTORY: Have you found that you cannot consistently return a blessing to those who come against you in persecution?

APPLICATION: Seek God for His Agape love - choose to love the person despite your emotions and ask God for the ability and empowerment to do just that.

Father, Thank You for Your perfect example of Jesus returning a blessing for the persecution that He faced on our account.  Father, help me to think this way the next time I am being persecuted, and give me the strength and abilities to be Christ like in return.  In Jesus precious name, amen...

Be Blessed, Pastor Scott

Copyright ©2017 by Pastor Scott Wright.
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000