Matthew 5:11-12 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
We get rewarded in the after life for the persecution we endure here on earth… that’s just gotta be true.
But of the many times Christ speaks of rewards in heaven, like the passage just mentioned from Matthew 5, I believe Him to be speaking primarily of the present life, the now life.
Is it really all that likely that all of the apostles and millions of Christians since the earthy ministry of Christ died brutal deaths for a reward that had no use for the here and now? Of course not. Christ was revealing a truth about the present life, persecution forges faith and relationship to God like no other tool on earth.
As we experience suffering we are given gifts, spiritual gifts, in the heavens.
Like a stone beats another stone into an arrowhead, persecution is used to forge out of us a ripened God centered life. Yeah, its painful and troubling, but when this idea is embraced a life of freedom is the result.
Christ said that He had no place to lay His head (Luke 9:58). And we say poor little homeless Jesus, Him had no place to sleep. Truth is that He knew that owning a piece of property was a stupid idea. His Father owns the cattle on a thousand hill, even He, Jesus, created all things. My point is that we think wrongly about what the scripture intended to say. As a result our application gets twisted and as a result of that all of our lives get built on a faulty foundation.
So who has the wrong perspective? Are we missing the point? Maybe Jesus had it right. Maybe the life that is most abundant is a life of complete surrender to God where rejection is the norm. Maybe communion with God in shear breakneck obedience is the way to ultimate freedom now. Maybe cross bearing has the hope of a present blessing of communion with God, not just the hope of resurrection.
Just think of how the hard times seem to always drive you to God.
This is an aspect of the cross. Take a hard look at it, try it out.
Yeah it’s heavy and it hurts, but by this cross you are given abundant life… now.
Chew on this one and enjoy.