February 8, 2024

Rob Campbell
'Jesus: "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way, they persecuted the prophets who were before you."'
Matthew 5:11-12

Insults. False Accusations. Evil words. What a trifecta of evil! When these things come your way, how do you react? I’ve built teams to defend me, hurled accusations, chose anger, rationalized, analyzed the enemy, and more. But Jesus says we are “blessed” when these things come our way. What? Seriously?

So, we are challenged to move from reaction to response. There’s a big difference between these two!

A brief timeout. In Mark 4:35-41, Jesus was asleep in the boat with his disciples. A great storm brewed, and the disciples feared for their lives. Eventually, they asked, “Don’t you care if we drown?” They were afraid they would die. Jesus calmed the storm, and the disciples were in awe. For a refresher, read the story. Storms will come. Adversity will happen.

Adversity can be our greatest motivation for spiritual growth or our deadliest means of discouragement. God does not permit adversity for the purpose of defeating us but for the purpose of benefitting us. Adversity is God’s primary tool for shaping and preparing you for service to Him. Response to suffering is the key distinction between a disciple of Christ and the unbelieving world. Adversity can be one of two things in your life: your enemy or your opportunity.

Rest assured that God knows the storms that are ahead, and He will see us through. Yes, it’s easy for us to lose hope when we lose our focus. “Don’t you even care?” God does care and has authority over all. Rejoice and be glad? You bet!