“The human heart is most deceitful and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” Jeremiah 17:9 With these words God tells us the condition of the human heart – the heart that has made no room for the love of Christ. These words establish the level of expectations for relationships between the believer and the non-believer.
God wants us to know that having love for Him and doing works in service to Him comes with a price. There will be some persecution from strangers, adversaries, and sometimes friends or family. “Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”2 Timothy 3:12 “God blesses those who are persecuted because they live for God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. God blesses you when you are mocked and persecuted and lied about because you are My followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted, too.” Mathew 5:11-12 Reassuring words from the Lord who has watched this process for many millennia and promises us that the reward in the end is nothing short of – life everlasting!
Christ gives us spiritual tools that are useful in spiritual battles large and small. Consider these tools in times of persecution and in periods of simple opposition. “Use every piece of God’s armor to resist the enemy in the time of evil, so that after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the sturdy belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, on the peace that comes from the Good News, so that you will be fully prepared. In every battle you will need faith as your shield to stop the fiery arrows aimed at you by Satan. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God. Pray at all times and on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit.” Ephesians 6:13-18
The Lord encourages us to keep all this hostility in perspective. He says not to take this opposition toward you and your efforts personally; saying in effect, “it’s all about Me.” “If the world hate you, you know that it hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love his own…” John 15:18 “Everyone will hate you because of your allegiance to me. But those who endure to the end will be saved.” Matthew 10:22 Truly, a reason to smile when someone hurts you, because of your faith.