Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:10 (NIV)
This isn’t my favorite beatitude, but it’s an important one. As a Christian I like to focus on all that I gain by following Jesus: eternal life, a restored relationship with God, a life of meaning and purpose, a heart of worship, His friendship and guidance, peace that surpasses understanding.
But Jesus has always been honest that following Him on the path of right choices will sometimes cause suffering. Even small choices can require sacrifices. Giving the right of way to the car merging into your lane. Returning the money when a cashier gives too much change. Biting your tongue and changing the subject when someone starts to share juicy gossip. Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote The Cost of Discipleship, in which he challenged Christians to let their faith make a difference in their choices—large and small. Bonhoeffer faced persecution, including imprisonment and death, for taking a stand against Hitler.
I may never face such heroic choices, but in whatever ways I endure persecution or sacrifice for Jesus’s sake, He assures me that in the midst of it, I am still blessed. As I follow in His steps, He is on this road with me, and He is able to bring glory to God and further His kingdom even in the midst of persecution.
Faith Step: Today, go online and either read about the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer or read something he wrote. Ask Jesus to give you the courage to make righteous choices.