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Devotion #14 – Thursday February 25

A Clash of Kingdoms – “Blessed are the poor in spirit, … those who mourn,…the meek, …those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, ..the merciful, ..the pure in heart,…the peacemakers, ..those who are persecuted
Matt 5:3-10
How difficult it is to live contrary to our culture! We are called to be in the world but not of the world. We are to be salt and light in our society, not isolated from it, but mingling with it in order to display the good news of a transformed life in Christ. It is a message that society doesn’t welcome – hence the persecution – though it should welcome that message above all others. We are called to display the most benign of all characters in the most vicious of all contexts. Our Master was a lamb in the slaughterhouse, and call us to follow Him. How reluctant we are!
A little conformity here, a little compromise there, and suddenly we are inoffensive Christians in an offensive crowd. We simply seek survival – our natural instinct – knowing deep down that we were not called to survive but to die daily (Matt 16:25; Luke 14:27, 1 Cor. 15:31).
We’re not called simply to swim upstream in a gently flowing brook. We must swim upstream in the raging rapids. That is the nature of the unbelieving world – it is radically opposed to the gospel, and the gospel is radically opposed to it. This is often too harsh for the human ear, isn’t it? God is love, we say, not radical opposition. But true love gives a true assessment, and Jesus tells us that the reality of eternal values lies in dramatic contradiction to cultural trends. Are you discouraged in this upstream journey? Be encouraged. We will fir perfectly in the coming kingdom, and living by its principles, we will draw others into it. “Persecution is one of the surest signs of the genuineness of our Christianity.” – Benjamin Fernando

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