Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
(Matthew 5:10, NKJV, emphasis mine).
I’m reading the fascinating book, “Amazing Grace,” by Eric Metaxas. The book is about the heroic fight of William Wilberforce to end the slave trade in England in the 18th and 19th centuries. At the cost of his reputation, his health and many relationships, Wilberforce fought against powerful forces of evil in “Christian England.” For over 25 years, Wilberforce was maligned, lied about and attacked because he believed that the black man was a child of God, created in the image of God and deserved the same freedom that the white man enjoyed. It was a righteous cause.
Jesus is saying “blessed are those who are persecuted for a righteous cause.” Anyone who stands for a righteous cause will be persecuted. The world loves it’s sin. The systems of the earth (principalities and powers), will always stand against the Kingdom of God.
None of us wake up one morning with a passion for righteousness. It’s only developed through intimacy with Christ. In the beatitudes, Jesus is showing us how we become like Him. Each statement builds on the other, beginning with being “poor in spirit,” (verse 3), complete surrender to God. God then gives us a heart for those who don’t know Him, and we “mourn” (verse 4). As our character is molded more and more into union with Christ, we become “meek” as we “hunger and thirst for righteousness” (verses 5-6). Suddenly, God gives us a new “mercy” as our heart is “purified” (verses 7-8). As we desire to bring peace to the earth as His “peacemaker,” God births a heart for righteousness (verses 9-10).
Has God placed a passion in your heart for a righteous cause? As you look around, as you read, pray and go about your life, does some cause keep coming into your spiritual eyesight? Might it be that God is preparing you for some future destiny that involves you being catalytic for the coming of the Kingdom through a righteous cause?
For a Kingdom cause,
Steve Holt M.A., D.D.
My newest book, Worshipper Warrior, can be found at www.steveholtonline.org