Jesus said that “all the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments”:
- Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.
- Love your neighbor as yourself.
(Matthew 22:37-40; Mark 12:28-34)
We’re in the midst of reviewing 50 commands straight from the mouth of Jesus that show what it reeeeeally means to love God and others. Here’s today’s featured command:
Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
(Matthew 5:11-12, Luke 6:22-23) (NASB)
Jesus’ brother James said this:
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
Joy in persecution? Joy in suffering? Joy in trials? Really?
What on earth is joy? Joy isn’t an emotion. It isn’t happiness. It isn’t pleasure. It’s waaaaay deeper than that.
Joy comes from God. It’s available 24/7, no matter the circumstances. It’s the second Fruit of the Spirit — right after love. (Galatians 5:22)
Joy is a major theme in the Bible. It sings in the Psalms, graces the Gospels, epitomizes the Epistles and reverberates in Revelation. Here’s just a sampling:
- “Shout with joy to God, all the earth!” (Psalm 66:1)
- “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4)
- “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:22)
- “[T]he joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10)
- Jesus told His disciples: “I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.” (John 16:22)
- “Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory!” (Revelation 19:7)
Do what Jesus says: Rejoice and be glad even — and maybe especially — when you’re insulted and persecuted because of him.
(Image credit: Shutterstock.com / Digital Storm)