Day 68: Leaping for Joy for Being Hated

Luke 6:22-23 :

Blessed are you when men shall hate you, and when they shall exclude and mock you, and throw out your name as evil, for the Son of Man’s sake.
Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven, for their fathers did the same thing to the prophets.

It isn’t a good thing to be popular in this world, because this world has set itself up against Jesus. We should expect to be about as popular in this world as Jesus was. I know that some teachers don’t talk about this fact but it should come as no surprise that being a Christian comes at a cost in this world. It doesn’t cost to become a Christian, it’s just the fact that following Jesus can bring the hatred of mankind against us.

It has been very interesting to me to watch the “Hate Crimes” movement as it surrounds and attacks Christianity. Clearly, it is not Christians who are doing the hating but those who have devised this scheme by which Christians can be singled out for punishment. The Bible gives us other stories to think about that address this problem. One very popular Bible story is the story of Daniel and the lion’s den. Daniel was one of the prophets that was hated, mocked and thrown out as evil. A group of men devised a scheme against Daniel that made it illegal to pray to anyone but the vain emperor. They knew that Daniel prayed three times a day and that he was a man who would not stop praying because of a law. He didn’t stop and as a result, was arrested and thrown to the lions as the law required. Daniel’s life was spared this time through that same prayer that was thought to be illegal. Still, some of the other good prophets in other stories were killed even though they did what was right. The point is that the world is antagonistic toward God and His Son Jesus and people don’t want to be made to look bad because of their sin.

When we are treated like these prophets, it should be an encouragement to us because it shows that we are on the right side. Jesus says here that if this happens to you, you will get a reward in heaven and this is no small thing. In fact, the Bible tells us that the rewards in heaven will never wear out, be stolen or lost. A person of faith recognizes that the heavenly reward is greater than any reward on earth. One thing to keep in mind is that in heaven gold is only pavement. There is simply no higher investment and Christians of many times and places over the years have held on to this fact as they were severely persecuted. God is the one who gives us the Holy Spirit and He will be the one to give us strength when we are persecuted for Him.