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Bless Those Who Persecute You - Part 2
8/8/2016

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

We are looking at a three part devotional series titled, Bless Those Who Persecute You. We all know blessing those who persecute us is probably one of the hardest things to do. In fact, without God, it would be impossible to do this with any true consistency. But with God all things are possible (cf. Phil. 4:12), and our blessing others will give great witness to our Christian beliefs, and it glorifies God greatly. 

We ended Part I of this devotional series by giving the supreme example of Jesus blessing those who persecuted Him by dying for their sins (as well as ours) upon the cross of Calvary. In Jesus’ last words, He asked for those who were persecuting Him to be forgiven of their sinful acts. Some would say, “Jesus could do this, because He is God, but nobody else could truly forgive someone for this kind of persecution.”

I would respectfully disagree and say, God has not asked us to do something He will not equip us to do. A perfect example of this would be the story of Stephen in the book of Acts. Stephen was the first person to be martyred in the Christian faith. He was a man who loved and followed Christ with all his heart, soul, and mind (Matthew 22:37), and his actions reflected this. Tragically, he was stoned to death for his bold public statement of the Gospel message. But as he was dying, he imitated Jesus, as he interceded with a prayer of blessing for those who were persecuting him. 

Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep. Acts 7:60 (NKJV)

Let’s be honest, chances are we’re probably not going to be stoned to death for sharing our faith in Jesus, or for telling others about the Gospel message — but we are definitely going to face persecution for our beliefs. Jesus warned us this would happen.  

 “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.  If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.  Remember the word that I said to you, “A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.” John 15:18-20 (NKJV)

I think it is important for us to remember every persecution we face is directly from Satan—he is the true enemy and the essence and origin of every form of evil. We are warned of him in 1 Peter.

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 1 Peter 5:8 (NKJV)

Every one of us would do well to pay close attention to the word adversary here in this verse—because “your adversary” means, your personal enemy. So knowing we have a personal enemy who is looking for ways in which to devour us, we should be ever so careful—looking for, and expecting every form of attack.

The safeguard to our relationships is just to remember every form of evil coming against us is an attack from the enemy—not the person who is doing the act. When we realize those who persecute us are simply being used by the enemy to do his dirty work in an attempt to get us to stumble, we will be able to respond in a way this verse is asking us to do as God’s children, and this is to: Bless those who persecute you.

I want to encourage you today to think about the big picture when someone is coming against you in persecution—the enemy is tempting you to respond in way that is not in God’s will, which is ultimately sin. Choose to think about what Jesus would have done, and then ask God for the wisdom, discernment, and strength to respond in the proper way. God knows what we are facing, and He has a perfect plan—and His plan consists of our being a blessing to others. We might stumble several times, but let’s not stop seeking God for the ability to be what He has called us to be. Let’s continue to read God’s word so we can be transformed to think and act like Christ.

STUDY QUESTION:  According to 1 Peter 5:8, who is our adversary or enemy?

PERSONAL INVENTORY: Knowing this, are you willing to look at others who persecute you differently?

PRACTICAL APPLICATION: Don’t allow the enemy to pull you into his schemes by retaliating evil for evil. When persecution comes upon you, stop immediately and seek the Lord for wisdom and discernment in handling the situation. Seek to glorify God in every action, and continue to read the Word of God so you will be prepared and equipped to do every good work.

MAKE THIS YOUR PRAYER TODAY:  Father, thank You for giving me the strength and abilities to be what You have called me to be. Lord, let me see the opportunities clearly when they are presented so I may be what You have called me to be. 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