“Blessed (Those who adore God and God adores them back) are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed (Those who adore God and God adores them back) are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
A. W. Tozer said that, “… We pursue God because, and only because, He has first put an urge within us that spurs us to the pursuit. “No man can come to me,” said our Lord, “except the Father which has sent me to draw him,”… The impulse to pursue God originates with God, but the outworking of that impulse is our following hard after him, and all the time we are pursuing Him we are already in his hand…” (A.w Tozer, The Pursuit of God).
You see, it is indeed the unrelenting pursuit of God and us clinging to Him every day that is going to cause Matthew 5:10-12 to make any sense to us today.
Today we are dealing with the word, “Persecution” and the state of being persecuted. The Greek word for, “persecuted” is the word, diókó (dee-o’-ko) (Strong’s 1377) which has both a negative meaning (Stating the obvious) and, believe it or not, it also has a positive meaning!
PERSECUTED – TWO MEANINGS!
1) FIRSTLY: The word, “persecuted” actually has a positive meaning to it and it means: “to earnestly pursue; aggressively chase after like a hunter; to pursue and catch the prize [which is Jesus Christ]”.
2) SECONDLY: The word, “persecuted” also has a negative meaning to it which, by the way, as I said, is generally the way all people understand persecution to mean. It means: “to zealously persecute and hunt down like an animal; to chase after relentlessly and persecute; earnestly desiring to overtake or overpower”.
You have got to understand that there is a play on words over here and that Jesus is emphasising this word, “persecution” to illustrate and highlight both sides of the coin or both sides of the camp. There is a war going on between Satan and those that belong to Christ. Satan has control over the unregenerate; the reprobate, and the unbeliever, and Satan’s entire mission is to persecute the saints that belong to Christ by using unbelievers as his tools.
THE HUNTERS BECOME THE HUNTED!
1.) FIRSTLY: There are the ones who hunt and long after Christ with earnest desire. This type of hunting is a good thing and it can be likened to when one is hunting for food in order to live. However, for the Christian, his and her daily bread comes from Christ alone because it is Christ who is their food!
2) SECONDLY: There are the hunters – the instruments of Satan – who hunt those that hunt after Christ in order to stop them, persuade them, win them over back into the kingdom of darkness, and even if need be, kill them for the sake of hating that which is good. This type of hunting is not for food but for the sake of just killing. I have seen kids with pellet guns who shoot birds and other small animals just for the satisfaction of killing. This is what these types of hunters are like.
Matthew 10:22 (cf. Mark 13:13; Luke 21:17; John 15:18)
YOU ARE ENEMY NUMBER ONE!
Let me make you aware of two truths happening over here?
As long as you are pursuing God and chasing after God with all of your heart, all of your mind, and all of your strength;
Satan will pursue you; he will hunt you down, and he will persecute you!
THE HUNGER GAMES!
I want to say emphatically that, the more you chase after God, the more the enemy is going to chase after you. If you are hungry for God then you need to know that your enemy is also very hungry for you. If any of you have ever read the books or watched the movies; The Hunger Games, then you will realise that there is a lot of truth in the story. For the Christian, his or her prize is Christ but the enemy will hunt you down in order to prevent you from getting your prize, which is; Freedom and Eternal life with Christ!
1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Shane Bryant (OMIN CLC, CLDIP, ADIV)