Jesus are you really serious?
How can I possibly rejoice and be exceedingly glad when I’m in jail and being flogged mercilessly like a criminal?
There are several verses in scripture that make reference to rejoicing, but I have only come across one that enjoins us to rejoice and be exceedingly glad. The reasons to motivate such exuberant rejoicing must be very enthralling one would presume.
To rejoice and be exceedingly glad elucidates the scenario of a struggling middle-aged woman manifesting hysterical jubilation just after discovering that her late grandmother had bequeathed $45 million dollars in a bank account for her prior to her death.
Our Lord Jesus actually commands us to celebrate in this manner when we are persecuted for His sake.
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake
Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
When Paul and Silas were locked up in prison for preaching about Jesus Christ, they prayed and sang songs of praise and worship. What happened next?
The Holy Ghost came down and there was an earthquake. God was glorified as many got saved.
When Peter and John were publicly flogged, arrested and locked up like criminals for preaching about Jesus, they gave thanks to God for the privilege of suffering for His sake.
When was the last time you worshipped and praised God specifically for the hard times, the insults, the discrimination, embarrassment, pain and suffering you go through because you are a Christian?
When was the last time you worshipped and praised God for the loneliness, heartache, disappointment and betrayals you have endured because you preach the Gospel…
…just because you refuse to do what others do in order to succeed…
…just because you’ve decided to walk in the Light of the Word of God and have refused to consider the other options…
…just because you have made a decision to live a holy and godly life…
…just because you love and fear God…
…just because you are a true Christian?
Have you been frustrated and wallowing in self-pity, feeling like you have been abandoned and are being punished for being a faithful Christian? Or have you been praising Him for the rare privilege of suffering for His Holy name?
Rejoice and celebrate because your reward is piling up in heaven. Yes. It is worth it.
Let no one deceive you that you will never face difficulties or go through hard times as a Christian. The Bible says;
Many are the afflictions of the righteous but the Lord delivers him from them all.
Yea; all that shall live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
2 Timothy 3:12
Something must be wrong with your Christianity if you do not suffer persecution. According to the scripture referenced above, you will definitely encounter difficulties, discrimination, stigmatization, castigation, rejection and vilification when you choose to live a godly life in Christ Jesus.
Some have stooped to the excessive pressure mounted by the enemy and have refrained from being militant and zealous in sharing the Gospel to avoid being persecuted.
Others have passively subjugated themselves into ungodly circles, lifestyles and relationships to avoid persecution from close friends, loved ones and other acquaintances.
After making so much progress; after covering so much ground; after coming this far, you don’t have to give up. It’s not time to acquiesce to the standards of the enemy.
It’s not time for lukewarmness and it is not time for discouragement. Apart from being a servant and a child of God, you are also a soldier.
Soldiers endure hardness. They stumble, fall and rise again. They may loose a battle, but persist in the war. They may sustain minor injuries, but they don’t sulk and back up against the wall. A true soldier fights till the very end. Till death.
May our Lord Jesus Christ saturate our hearts with such love, passion, fire and candor to stand firm and serve Him faithfully to the very end regardless of the situation.
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
We are on the winning side and more than conquerors through Christ our Savior. Your victory is already guaranteed so hold on and press on servant of the Most High God.
You are highly lifted and highly favored. God Almighty, the angels and the whole of heaven are applauding and cheering you on to get up and forge ahead with passion and focus; looking forward to that great day when you will be crowned in glory like the Prince/Princess you truly are.
No one on earth may be able to fully appreciate and comprehend the level of sacrifice you have made and are making for the sake of Jesus, and no one may come over and give you a pat on the back.
However, rest assured that there is a cloud of witnesses watching. Rest assured that the Lord sees and appreciates every little step, every little decision, every little sacrifice as well as the great ones you make for His sake.
Not a tear drops without Him noticing. Not a groan goes without acknowledgement. Not a prayer falls on deaf ears. Not a conversation meets a distracted mind. Our Lord knows, sees and understands all about the situation.
He says “I will never leave nor forsake you.” He’s got your back. So move forward with resolve and confidence.
Jesus called the crowd together with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to follow Me [as My disciple], he must deny himself [set aside selfish interests], and take up his cross [expressing a willingness to endure whatever may come] and follow Me [believing in Me, conforming to My example in living and, if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in Me].
13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
In conclusion, make a list. A list of all the negative things you’ve been complaining about; a list of all the things you’ve been depressed about: a list of “unanswered prayers”; a list about the things you have been apprehensive about, a list of all the terrible things that have happened to you and your loved ones.
Take time off and really thank, praise and worship Him for everyone of them.
You may be in for a surprise.
In everything give thanks for that’s the will of God concerning you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Do you really love God? Are you absolutely sure that He has called you according to His purpose concerning your life? If you answered yes then CONGRATULATIONS!
You have no reason to be worried about your current circumstances. He is actively working things out for your good and for His glory.
Going forward, consider persecution as an opportunity for celestial investment… an opportunity to increase your reward in that everlasting city of Light where God Himself reigns as King of kings.
Let it be an opportunity for you to demonstrate your love for Him as a token of gratitude for all He has done.
Rejoice and be exceedingly glad.