Rev. Dr. Delesslyn A. Kennebrew, J.D., M.Div. - Visionary Strategist  Faithful Innovator  Inspirational Essayist
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Salvation and Stilettos Blog

How Well Do YOU KNOW Jesus? - Matthew 5:10

How Well Do You Know Jesus?
Matthew 5:10 –
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs in the kingdom of heaven.
BlogFam, I can vividly recall the name some of my High School classmates would tease me with.  They used to call me “REV!” How ironic is it that today I actually am a minister of the Gospel, a thought that was somewhat far from my own mind and I am pretty sure that the taunting of my classmates was not an attempt to speak prophetically into my life. I grew up in a pretty strict home environment and there were many choices that my parents made on my behalf in their raising me that I did not understand and some I didnot agree with.  But I will say this, I truly believe that I just might be better off than some of those same classmates that taunted and teased me who never got their lives together and who probably could have learned a lesson or two from this girl they called “REV!” 
I can laugh about this today and I cannot say that I can recall ever crying about it back in the day.  I do remember that there were some lonely moments and times when I did feel different, ostracized, peculiar, set apart, and I might even dare to say… CHOSEN.  Now, I am not claiming that I have a blemish free testimony.  I am not perfect but I can say that even before I publicly acknowledged my call to ministry as an adult, deep down, I already knew that something was not the same as everybody else. 
Have you ever felt this way BlogFam?   I hope so.  I hope you have had the feeling that you are special, unique, called out from among those who would criticize your stance for the sake of Christ.  I hope that your walk with Christ is so evident that someone in your circle sees the God in you and gives you the side eye, not because they are jealous but because they are grateful to just be in your presence. 
BlogFam, I know that the persecution that Jesus was to endure after He speaks these words, the persecution that Paul endured after his conversion on the Damascus Road, and the persecution that present day Christians endure in countries where being a Christian is a criminal act does not even compare to the taunting and teasing I endured by teenage children in the hallways of my High School.  However, I can honestly say that those minor “insults” prepared me for major “attacks” I endured later in life simply because I owned my identity as different, ostracized, peculiar, setapart, and I might even dare to say… CHOSEN. 
Friends, I want you to know that just because you are striving to please the Lord in all that you do and say,  does not at all mean that you will not be persecuted, insulted, talked about, criticized for your beliefs or for your assignments in the Kingdom of God.  You will not always have the majority vote when it comes to living for the Lord and there will be people who will not understand you, support you, applaud you, or stand with you.  I will even tell you that Saints just may NOT pray for or with you when you decide to take your stand but BE ENCOURAGED on today.  STAY FOCUSED on theWord of the Lord over your life and you will overcome! 
One thing that I do appreciate about the teachings of Jesus is that Jesus does not sugarcoat the pain and suffering that we, His Followers, must endure.  Jesus gives it to us straight.  We do not have to be naive about the reality that we will go through some hard times, lonely times, difficult times as Christians and Jesus graciously forewarns us of this reality.  Furthermore and probably most importantly, He PROMISES to never leave us or forsake us. So, DO NOT GIVE UP!!!  At some point, I will write in greater details some of my testimony as a woman and as a preacher who has experienced escalated attacks from the teasing and the taunting days I was called “REV!” But today, I just want to emphasize this powerful truth:
BLESSED are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs in the kingdom of heaven.
I do believe this.  I really do.  I believe it for myself and I believe it for you.  I believe it and I know it to be TRUE.  I believe this is why Philippians 3:7-11 is one of my favorite passages of Paul.  He, in essence, shares his personal determination as it relates to this Beatitude.  Far too often, we only want to see the Kingdom of heaven, here on earth. We want to see miracles and blessings, raises and promotions, favor and God’s promises fulfilled in our own lives but that is only ONE side of this life as believers.  Life before the comma is what we do not want… PERSECUTION for doing the right thing, for being in right standing with God.  And believe me, I totally understand how you feel but my sisters and brothers, like Paul, we too must desire to KNOW Jesus through and through.  For as we grow in our knowledge of Jesus we begin to see that even when the going gets rough, He will NOT abandon us like so many others, but He will stick closer than any brother or sister.  He will NEVER leave your side. 
Thus, I do appreciate Jesus’ warning and Paul’s determination as open and honest conversation about the realities of discipleship.  Righteousness is not just having the power of God available in our lives but it also includes our participation in the work of God in us and through us in this world for the sake of the Kingdom.  I believe that to be or to be made righteous is to celebrate resurrection and participate in suffering.  This is the example that Jesus sets for all of us who choose to follow Him and my friends, His suffering, His persecution came BEFORE His glorious resurrection. 
So, BlogFam, how well do you know Jesus?
Paul’s determination is to KNOW Jesus in this way:
Philippians3:7-11 –
7But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.
8What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.  I consider them garbage,  that I may gain Christ.
9And be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ – the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.
10I want to know Christ – YES, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,
11And so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
AGAIN, Righteousness is not just having the power of God available in our lives but italso includes our participation in the work of God in us and through us in thisworld for the sake of the Kingdom.  I believe that to be or to be made righteous is to celebrate resurrection andparticipate in suffering.  AND Jesus said it best:
BLESSED are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs in the kingdom of heaven.
Friends, how well do YOU know Jesus?  Do you knowJesus in suffering AND resurrection? Only you and God knows the answer to these questions, and as your sister in Christ, I can say today that you have been warned and dare I say…CHOSEN for this righteous life.  TO GOD BE THEGLORY!!!
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