Are you a discerning person? Do you have the ability to match what you see with what you feel, think, hear and believe?
Discernment, spiritual insight, and Biblical wisdom are essential in the Christian life.
If you have accepted Christ as your Savior, you have a relationship with Him. The relationship grows stronger by walking with Him, fellowshipping with Him, prayer, and study of His Word, the Bible.
As you walk with Christ and develop your spiritual life, you become more discerning because you filter your life experiences through His teaching and His wisdom.
The apostle Paul was warning the Colossians in today’s scripture about a philosophical war among them. The Jews of the day were struggling to hold on to the Jewish traditions that were intended to “lead people to the Messiah,” and they were continuing to insert this philosophy as a requirement for spirituality.
The gentiles of the day were mixing their “philosophies of life” with the teachings of Christ. Both of these approaches were creating a head-on collision with the pure teachings and truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ. By holding on to the world’s philosophy and then adding the teachings of Jesus to it, you create a life that competes with your commitment to the teachings of Jesus. The result is a diluted version of the true gospel.
Do you have discernment and spiritual insight?
Are you looking at life through the lens of scripture or are you making excuses with yourself about the choices you make based on a mixed philosophy of the current culture and the teachings of Christ?
Here are a few questions to ask yourself to test your discernment and spiritual insight (and your genuine commitment to Christ).
1. Are you basing your relationship with Christ on a solid commitment to Him as your personal Savior? Could you give someone a “when, where, and how” you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior? Or are you just trusting in someone else’s spirituality to get you into good standing with Jesus, like a parent, grandparent, or spiritual influencer? You don’t want to leave your eternal destiny to chance. If you are unsure, please get this figured out. Talk to a pastor, a godly friend, or family member and solidify your understanding of whether you are a true believer or not.
2. Are you pursuing a path toward spiritual maturity, with a desire and commitment to grow, to become deeply rooted and established in Christ? Are you regularly reading the Bible, spending time in prayer, and choosing to spend time with friends and mentors who are mature, discerning Christians?
3. Are you living according to God’s truth and committed to obedience to Him? Be honest with yourself here. Do you ever lie or are you committed to always telling the truth? Do you love God more than money, power, status, pleasure, and praise of people? Are you committed to God’s standard of moral purity? Just because the culture says something is okay, that does not reflect the teachings of Christ in areas of morality and moral purity. Have you committed to remain sexually pure and save yourself for the marriage relationship, as God established? Are you committed to a life of hearing God’s voice, submission to His will, and surrender to His plans?
4. Are you committed to turning to God and His word as the standard, the only measure, for answers to questions about how life should be lived here on this earth, how you should think, act and believe?
Jesus isn’t only interested in handing out “free tickets to heaven” even though many people view their relationship with Christ as just that. They want to pray a prayer, get their ticket and go on to live their own way. Jesus is calling us to a life of full commitment to Him, not a diluted version of faith. Don’t let the world, culture, and philosophies of friends and influencers cheat you out of the incredible life plan God has for you. Commit today to clarify your commitment to Christ, commit to obeying His Word, and turn to His word as the standard for all decisions that direct your thinking, actions, and purpose.
As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Colossians 2:6-7
Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. Colossians 2:8
Jesus transforms! Don’t just accept His gift, commit yourself to the spiritual journey He offers. Develop discernment and spiritual insight by following Him and the teaching of His Word.
Growing Christians aren’t advancing in their spiritual walk by accident.
Spiritual maturity comes to those who understand the concept of a “Christian walk.” Just the word picture itself tells you it takes steps, deliberate steps, to move forward in victory and spiritual growth. Just like a healthy person needs water, food, and air, a healthy spiritual life comes to those who understand what you need to be spiritually healthy. Think about the following “spiritual needs” list and see what is going well and what may be missing in your walk to spiritual maturity.
You Need To Connect With God’s Mission Field
Throughout scripture you see God identifying three key people groups, and it’s clear He wants His children to pay close attention to them as well. They are the fatherless, the widows, and the poor. When you think about your “ministry involvement” remember that anything you are doing for the Lord is important, but don’t ignore “the least of these” He has placed around you. Your connection to God’s mission field will do wonders for accelerating your own heart for God.
When Jesus heard that, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. – Matthew 9:12 Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. – James 1:27
You Need To Practice Repentance
Being a good Christian is not about achieving perfection. As much as you or I may desire to do everything right, we just can’t. There are days we will blow it. A mature, growing Christian learns to seek God’s forgiveness regularly. Be careful not to fall into the trap of trying to prove to God and others that you are always right. Be humble enough to acknowledge sins and quickly ask for forgiveness. Admitting you are wrong, you have sinned, or that you made a mistake doesn’t make you a weaker Christian… it makes you a stronger one.
I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” And You forgave the iniquity of my sin. – Psalm 32:5 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin. – Psalm 51:2 He who covers his sins will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy. – Proverbs 28:13
You Need To Be a Giver, Not a Taker
The Apostle Paul had the hands of a leatherman! He pointed this out in his message to his converts in Ephesus. He was giving his final piece of “spiritual advice” after spending three years with them, deeply investing in their spiritual development day and night. So what was the comment about his hands? What was the point?
Many people who came to Christ in Ephesus were people of means. They had nice things, very nice things! They wore fancy clothes, they had lots of money, and looked great in public. Paul was a tentmaker. He said, “I have coveted no one’s gold or apparel, these hands have provided for my necessities.” Paul was reinforcing a powerful truth. God has provided everything we have. Some people experience a wealth of resources, Paul neither condemned nor coveted other Christian’s material success. He was very comfortable with people who had much and people who had little.
Imagine this scene. Paul reminded them of this final truth. Our inheritance is coming in eternity. It is so much more blessed to give than to receive. He prayed with them. They walked him to his ship. Everyone cried. They knew they would likely never see him again and their heart was filled with this reality, “I’m going to miss this man’s teaching, I’m going to miss his influence and friendship.”
“Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn every one night and day with tears. “So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel. Yes, you yourselves know that these hands have provided for my necessities, and for those who were with me. I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ” And when he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. Then they all wept freely, and fell on Paul’s neck and kissed him, sorrowing most of all for the words which he spoke, that they would see his face no more. And they accompanied him to the ship. – Acts 20:31-38
You Need Fellowship and Community
The culture of true friendship is in danger of collapsing. Everyone sees it, everyone feels it, but so many ignore the obvious solution. The revival of true friendship could be the beginning of a spiritual revival among us. People are hurting, lonely and feel disconnected. Where do people look for the example of genuine friendship?
They look to the Christian community. We are the ones who experienced the unconditional love of God through His Son Jesus Christ. We are those who genuinely are commissioned to love those around us. It starts with loving our family well and it spills over into all our friendships.
Be generous with your words, actions, and even your resources toward others. Notice the last phrase of today’s passage. Be especially supportive “to the necessity of the saints.” Many among us have needs, but those who have sacrificed for their service to God in ministry are mentioned here as the ones who are often forgotten. Be a dear friend to them, care for them and be a partner in the calling of God in their life.
Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another; Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. Romans 12:9-13
You Need Compassion
It may be hard to wrap your mind around this, but have you ever considered that God is happy that some of His children are blessed with an abundance of wealth and resources, and He is also pleased that some of His children are poor? Why would God be okay with this “inequity?” In God’s sovereign plan, He knows what He is doing. One of the most powerful and spiritual acts of humanity is compassion. Having extra places you in a position to be compassionate, and when you are compassionate, your heart is aligned with God’s heart.
Those who live without an abundance of material resources learn to trust God in a unique way and model this trust to those who have more than they need. Each of God’s children, whatever their status by the world’s measure, encourages the other to abide in Him.
But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? I John 3:17
You Need To Trust the Bible Fully
The Bible isn’t just any other book. It is God’s word to us and it has the power to transform your heart, your mind, and soul. Don’t fall into the trap of ignoring this spiritual resource God has given you. Turn to it regularly as your source of truth, wisdom, and guidance.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. Colossians 3:16
You Need To Love God More Than Material Things
Sometimes people think God is against material possessions. He’s not. It’s okay to have nice things. God blesses ingenuity, innovation, and hard work. Take whatever level of success God has given you and use it in ways that would please Him. Don’t love things, love God and love people instead. All the possessions you have are going to fade away, but your investment in your relationship with God and your impact on others will be rewarded for all eternity.
Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’ and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. Rev 3:17-19
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. – James 1:5
When Life Doesn’t Make Sense, Ask God For Wisdom
Did you know that God gives wisdom and He will gladly give you all the wisdom you need under one condition? What is that one condition? You have to ask for it. It is that simple. In James chapter one, Christians were experiencing all kinds of trials, but those trials were producing the benefit of patience and maturity. It’s God’s nature to bring good results amid bad experiences.
If you are going through tough times right now, chances are, you are very confused at times. In your confusion, you need wisdom and clarity. God promises that if you ask Him for wisdom, He will give it to you liberally. And He will give it to you without reproach. You don’t have to “deserve wisdom” or have it all together to get His wisdom. You just need to ask for it, and it really is that simple. It’s a promise from God with no strings attached.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. – James 1:5
When You Rely on God’s Wisdom Your Life Is Filled With Peace
The pure wisdom God offers leads to peace. It leads to a peace that passes all understanding. The wisdom God provides is first and foremost pure wisdom. It is free from a mixture of impure motives, selfish agendas or lies. God gives true wisdom born within His heart of unconditional love for you. His wisdom is rooted in ultimate truth, and if you ask Him for it, He will give you unlimited access to His wisdom. That kind of wisdom living will flood your life with peace. Peace in your family, peace at work, and peace in your spiritual life.
But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. – James 3:17
When You Find God’s Wisdom, You Have Found His Treasure Chest For Living
How would you like to wake up one day with all the resources you will ever need for the rest of your life?
Several years ago I met a guy in his early 4o’s living in Indiana. He was working on a Bible study project, and I met with him to learn more about it. While explaining the magnitude of the project, he also shared how he got started on it. He was working for a company, where he had been in his “cubicle” for years, and one day a manager stopped by his desk in October and said, “Since you own shares in the company I think you should know that the company was sold. So, you can continue to work until the end of December, or you can go home today. Whichever you choose, you now have enough money from the sale that you will never have to work another day for the rest of your life.”
He went on to explain to me that the next twelve months were the most difficult days he’d ever experienced in life. His loss of purpose, loss of focus, and confusion about life hit an all-time high. It took a lot of work to get back to feeling “normal and happy.”
God promises when you find wisdom, God’s wisdom, it’s like you have just discovered a treasure chest for life. You will be happy; you will have understanding, your five talents will become ten, your days will be better, your paths will be more pleasant, and more peaceful.
Happy is the man who finds wisdom, And the man who gains understanding; For her proceeds are better than the profits of silver, And her gain than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies, And all the things you may desire cannot compare with her. Length of days is in her right hand, In her left hand riches and honor. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, And all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, And happy are all who retain her. – Proverbs 3:13-18
When You Choose Wisdom You Are Buying Opportunity
The choice is not as complicated as it may sound, either walk circumspectly (accurately, exactly) or carelessly. To walk circumspectly is to embrace the guidelines and the directions our heavenly Father has given us. It’s a commitment to use caution, to crosscheck our move before we commit so that we know we are not carelessly going the wrong way.
Walking circumspectly redeems the time. It is literally as if you are buying an opportunity. If you want to make the most of this one life God has given you, stop, think, pray and ask God for wisdom along each step of your journey.
See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. – Ephesians 5:15-17
When You Have Reverence For God, You Gain Knowledge For Life
The fear of the Lord is a healthy, reverence for Him. If you want to attain all the knowledge, He has to offer you, start with the foundation of reverence for God. When you elevate your view of God, valuing and respecting all that He is, you will be rewarded with wisdom for all areas of life.
The alternative is not great. Fools despise wisdom and instruction. A foolish person ignores God, doesn’t value His word, and has no regard for His voice in their life. Wisdom will not come to this person and life will continue to be hard.
Make Him central in your life. Value His word. Listen to His voice.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction. – Proverbs 1:7
Are you ready to quit?
Some of the greatest spiritual experiences of my life have come after I reached my limits!
1. When You Are Under Attack God Hears You
If you’ve ever felt that circumstances were against you, that you were under attack, or you were on the verge of losing in life, then you need to read everything David wrote. He wrote Psalm 31 and it is possible he wrote it when he was being persecuted by Saul.
When you feel overwhelmed and overtaken by the enemy, remember that God hears you, he preserves you, and he strengthens you.
For I said in my haste, “I am cut off from before Your eyes”; Nevertheless You heard the voice of my supplications When I cried out to You. Oh, love the LORD, all you His saints! For the LORD preserves the faithful, And fully repays the proud person. Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart, All you who hope in the LORD. – Psalm 31:22-24
2. When You Treat Others Well, God Rewards You
God makes promises and you can be confident that He always keeps His word. Here is a promise, you will reap a reward from God if you don’t become weary and quit.
What is it that you should do to get this reward? He calls it “well-doing.” It is the act of treating others well, being kind and doing good to others. Everything you do to encourage others, build them up, equip them, invest in them, is an act of “well doing,”
It is so easy to become weary in treating others well and to eventually give up. God knows it can be a struggle which is why He admonishes us that He will reward us if we continue to invest in people, even when it is hard! Don’t give up on making an impact in the lives of others.
And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap if we faint not. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith. – Galatians 6:9-10
3. When You Are Called To Lead, Be Strong and Courageous Because God Is With You
God calls servants to be leaders. Jesus humbled Himself as a servant to the Father. Joshua spent years serving under Moses. Christ calls us to live as servants to God and others. This should be viewed as an honor. But, when He calls you to lead, stand up and charge ahead with strength and courage.
In Joshua 1, Moses had just died, Joshua had been serving Moses, and God said the work must go on. God called Joshua to take the lead. In this context, He said to Joshua, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9
God knows that those who have the heart of a servant are the ones He will select to be the next leader, the next game-changer. He also knows that those with the heart of a servant are well aware of their own weaknesses. That’s why He will continually remind you that your strength and courage are essential to the task, but that strength and courage comes from a constant awareness that He is with you!
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go. – Joshua 1:9
4. When You Are Ready To Quit, God Is Ready to Give You Rest
Are you ready to quit? Some of the greatest spiritual experiences of my life have come after I reached my limits! You know the feeling, I’m sure. Have you said any of these things lately? “I’m tired of this. I don’t know how much longer I can last. I don’t want it to be this way for the rest of my life.”
Jesus is smiling right now! He’s been waiting to have this moment with you. This is where He says, “You have no idea how much easier your life could be if you get rid of your current burden and join me, walk with me, and exchange what you are doing for what I want for you.”
If the burden (the yoke) you are carrying is the burden of sin, He promises His yoke, a commitment to Him is so much lighter. If the yoke you are carrying is just the heaviness of life, He says the yoke He offers will make the load so much lighter.
So whether you need to repent of sin, accept Christ into your heart, or just stop trying to live in your own strength… Jesus is ready to lighten the load for you.
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. – Matthew 11:28-30
5. When You Commit To Him, You Build a Spiritual Legacy and Make a Difference
People are watching you. They are learning from your example. When you were in kindergarten you looked up to the first graders, in elementary school you thought the middle schoolers were so mature and in high school, college kids looked like full-grown adults!
Believe it or not, there are three groups of people you are influencing every day. Those younger than you, those who are your peers, and those older than you. Each is either being inspired by your testimony or to some degree, losing heart.
Wouldn’t it be incredible if your choice to “never give up” created a legacy that impacted others for generations?
Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; – Romans 12:9-12
People who are living breathe. People who are Christians pray.
As soon as a child is born, he breathes the air around him, and as soon as a person is born again in Christ, he wants to pray.
But prayer can be a struggle. Why do we struggle so much with prayer? It’s because we lose sight of the most important reason we are praying. The purpose of prayer is fellowship with God.
When you finish praying, ask yourself this question, “Did I fellowship with God today?” If what you just did was filled with words to impress others, just trying to complete a checklist, or repetitive “spiritual phrases” over and over, you didn’t really fulfill the purpose of prayer. I’m sorry to tell you, you missed the point. Jesus wants your prayer life to be sincere, He wants you to know Him, talk to Him, and feel His presence.
Christ warns in the following verses about the ways we can get sidetracked in our prayers. The hypocrites prayed like this:
*Their Posture: Standing so they would impress others.
*The Place: In the synagogues to be heard by others.
*In Public: On the busy street corners, to impress others.
*The Product: They had their reward, which was the praise of man.
In other words… they missed the point of prayer completely.
Compare what the hypocrites did to what Jesus modeled and taught. Your prayer time could be kneeling (posture), in secret (place), privately conversing with God (not public), and the result would be that you genuinely fellowshipped with God and He heard and answered you (the product).
The greatest question you can ask yourself after you pray is this, “Did I fellowship with God today?
And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. Matthew 6:5-7
Do you focus on checking the boxes on your prayer list or do you intentionally fellowship with God in prayer? What changes do you need to make in order to be more connected to God in fellowship with Him?
Jesus delivered HIs longest sermon called “The Sermon on the Mount,” and He began by identifying eight types of blessed people.
The Poor In Spirit: Empty of Self; Full of God
The first in His list of blessed people are the poor in spirit. Some people are living in spiritual poverty, wholly engrossed in the sins and lusts of the world. He’s not talking about that type of spiritual poverty here. The kind of poverty Jesus is talking about is the poverty of self. Jesus challenges us to be utterly empty of self to make room to be full of God. He promises happiness to come to those who are empty of self and full of God. And, theirs is the kingdom of heaven! That’s the future promise. That’s something to be happy about!
Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. – Matthew 5:3
The Mourners: Caring Deeply about Spiritual Things
Blessed are the mourners? Really? Jesus didn’t say it was His intention for you and me to be downhearted, sad, or spend our days focusing on negative things. But He did say, “Blessed are the mourners.”
When children of God have a genuine sensitivity to sin and feel the remorse for their willful disobedience, that is a blessing from God.
Do you care deeply about your spiritual life, do you care genuinely about your fellowship with Christ, and do you care deeply about the spiritual condition of your friends, neighbors, and family? If so, you are blessed to have such a heart of concern for things that matter to God.
Remember, the blessing you receive for mourning for your spiritual life and the condition of others will be rewarded. If you don’t see the reward here, you will see it in heaven because in due season you will reap if you faint not!
Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted. – Matthew 5:4
The Meek: Happy and in Control
Meek people are happy people. They have learned to imitate Christ in their spirit, actions, and reactions. The meek are not easily offended and would rather forgive many than get even with one. Meek people are less stressed.
In their meekness, they have learned to be happier and more content. It’s not that meek people aren’t willing to stand for truth and fight when necessary, but they don’t have to completely explode to get a result. They have learned to rest in Christ, and live in His peace.
Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth. – Matthew 5:5
The Hungry and Thirsty: Renewed and Refreshed
To hunger and thirst after righteousness leads to a joy-filled life. If you hunger for meat and you eat, you are sustained, refueled, and replenished to keep going. You desire food to eat to be renewed in your strength. Replenishing of strength comes from a desire to know God through His word, the Bible.
If you are thirsty, your desire is to be refreshed. When you focus on the forgiveness of sin, the pardon you have received and the love of God, you are refreshed.
To experience God and find a fullness of joy, you need to be both renewed and refreshed. Renewed by time in the word of God and refreshed by spending time in fellowship with Him in prayer, confession, and a clear conscience because of His forgiveness.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled. – Matthew 5:6
The Merciful: Caring and Compassionate
There are many things God desires for us, not so much for His sake, but for our own sake. You see when you take today’s truth about mercy, and become a caring and compassionate person, it changes you.
Merciful people care. Whether or not they have the resources to fix a suffering person’s problem is not the motive of a merciful person’s heart. A Christian with a merciful heart has learned to genuinely care for the suffering, the struggling, the ignorant, the lost and the needy. Mercy doesn’t just see needs and walk away, mercy responds. If you can’t help meet the need, you invest by giving your heart of compassion. Because everyone needs a little more kindness and compassion in life.
Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy. – Matthew 5:7
The Pure In Heart: Clarity and Understanding
Do you want a clearer picture of God? Do you desire a deeper understanding of Him? You can have it, and it comes to the pure in heart. The pure in heart are living the truest form of Christianity. Like unmuddied water, they have learned to differentiate between spiritual things and things that are of the world. Their motives are pure, their heart is right, and their desires rest in things that are part of the heart of God.
When you decide that the life God has given you here on earth is to be lived for Him and His will, not for yourself, your purity of heart will lead to a deeper understanding of God.
Some people struggle all their life to understand God’s work in their life. The pure in heart get to see God more profoundly.
Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God. – Matthew 5:8
The Peacemakers: Joy and Impact
Jesus Christ was the Prince of Peace, the wisdom of God is first pure, then peaceable, and the birth of Jesus was to bring peace on earth. Do you see a theme here? Peacemakers are blessed of God. They have a peaceful disposition throughout life. They engage in peaceful conversations, and when peace begins to leave the discussion, they are aware and deliberate about bringing it back.
Peacemakers allow space in relationships and strive to accommodate the needs of others. When the peace is broken, they are skilled at making repairs.
Peacemakers are doing the work of God here on earth. Christ came to deliver peace and peacemakers understand when they are living peaceably, they are aligned with God’s plan. This is why they are called the children of God. They are happily fulfilling their Father’s will walking on earth as His offspring.
Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God. – Matthew 5:9
The Persecuted and Slandered: Receive a Great Reward
Those who walk closest to Christ, His most committed disciples, will potentially face persecution and suffering for their faith. But wait, what about the blessed life He’s been promising all along? It seems confusing to mix blessings and persecution in the same promise.
God’s children from the beginning have suffered greatly for their faith on this earth. They have been “persecuted” and “reviled.”
Persecution comes in many forms. It could be physical threats, loss of opportunities to advance at work, fines, threats of legal action, loss of promotion, shunned in relationships, and don’t forget in some places in the world torture and death.
Reviling is verbal persecution. It’s when people say “all manner of evil against you falsely.” Name calling, slanderous nicknames, verbal abuse, gossip behind your back, all culminate to create an environment intended to make you suffer as a committed follower of Jesus.
The persecuted and reviled are blessed. (1) Because you have a home in heaven and a personal relationship with God. No one can ever take away from you the reward you have in being God’s child. (2) Because you will be rewarded in heaven. The Bible says, “Great is your reward in heaven.” (3) You are in good company. “For so persecuted they the prophets before you.” Matthew 5:12. You are among those who God honors who have truly suffered for His sake.
In your suffering, be blessed because the almighty God is with you and you are on His side. On the other side of eternity, you have a reward waiting for you that far outweighs any sacrifices you make on this earth.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. – Matthew 5:10
Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. – Matthew 5:11
After twenty-one years in church youth ministry I established an outreach ministry in 2008 with a key focus on reaching troubled youth in the community of Indianapolis, Indiana. Our ministry moved to Tennessee in July 2010 and I continue to minister to high-risk and fatherless youth.