February 1

Matthew 5:10-12 10Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

In Jesus' teaching about the upside down world of the Kingdom of heaven, He shares where true fulfillment and joy are found. He is helping His disciples think like He does. His thoughts are so unlike the world. The men in the world that the disciples respected were those who sought the praise of men for their way of life. They lived for the respect and honor that men gave them.

Jesus taught that real blessing came when people persecuted you because of your righteous living. The kingdom of heaven belongs to those who walk in righteousness when the world hates them for it. Don't shrink back and get quiet when you see the world's hostility toward your godly attitude, speak out! We are here to make a difference. In the previous chapter, Satan said he was the one that possessed the kingdoms of this world. Therefore, when you walk in righteousness the world will hate you, not honor you.

When that happens you can rejoice and be glad. Your difference is so noticeable that it has drawn attention. You have joined the ranks of the godly that have gone before you. The world persecuted them too. The ones that really stand out get killed. God blesses the ones that endure the wrath of the world with heavenly reward. They are living for heaven, not this world. What about you? It may depend on how Christian your culture is, but even in a Christian culture you will suffer loss for living a righteous life that puts the pleasure of God above that of pleasing men. You might not be physically injured, but you will face ridicule and rejection for standing for the things of God instead of giving in to the whims of man.

Remember: Be strong, people of God. We are supposed to be a contrast to the world. Live to please the Father, not men. As long as He is pleased, you can rejoice and be glad.