Vital signs- Friday, January 8th, 2021

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

Here lies the acid test. Most of the winning attitudes run so deep, they are hard to distinguish and easy to fake. So how do we know if we really possess them? This attitude is a benchmark. When we do good, help others, genuinely pour our heart into sacrificial service and it is turned against us, what is our response? We often seethe with hurt and wallow in self pity. Especially when those close to us revile us, it cuts deep. There will definitely be hurt, but if Jesus could “despise the shame” that was thrown upon Him so can we. If Paul could reach out to those who hurt him and transform them that is our charter. Are we able to trample those feelings of hurt, rise above and be true lights?

Not only do we learn to ignore the humiliation, Jesus lifts it up a notch. We are to rejoice and keep on rejoicing, as Paul did, as the apostles, did and as Jesus himself did. How did they achieve that? Simply by truly living up to the word and obeying Christ and His call implicitly. By dying to self and living for Him. It is then, then only that in the midst of grave offense we experience a deep joy and peace of the Christ who walked the most difficult path with graciousness, class and confidence.

In most cases doing good as a Christian should not attract persecution.1 Peter 3:13 “Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed.” Peter then reminds us to be prepared to defend our faith with “gentleness and reverence;” The reason for rejoicing is because we know that our souls are being not only strengthened and protected but enlarged and enriched in every situation. We entrust our souls into the Maker’s hands.

How do we feel deep inside when hurt by those we have helped? Are we truly able to “let go and let God”? Can we rejoice and keep on rejoicing in every situation? If not that is a goal we can strive for.

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