Impact

The Beautiful Attitudes – Part VIII: Blessed are those who are Persecuted

"Blessed are those who are persecuted FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to them. “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you and say all kinds of evil things about you falsely ON ACCOUNT OF ME. Rejoice and be glad because your reward is great in heaven, for they persecuted the prophets before you in the same way. (Matthew 5:10-12)

Again, the Greek word for blessed (i.e., makarios) used here means fortunate, prosperous, or successful. That is, successful are those who suffer persecution when doing the right thing! Successful are those who suffer from insults, persecution, and slander when living a life that represents Jesus!  Note that these verses do NOT say that suffering brought upon us via poor behavior will make us successful! Self-induced suffering (i.e., suffering we experience as a consequence of incorrect actions) has no spiritual value.

But let none of you suffer as a murderer or thief or criminal or as a troublemaker. (1 Peter 4:15 NET)
For what credit is it if you sin and are mistreated and endure it? But if you do good and suffer and so endure, this finds favor with God. (1 Peter 2:20 NET)
For it is better to suffer for doing good, if God wills it, than for doing evil. (1 Peter 3:17 NET)

For example, you decide to let someone have a “piece of your mind,” and they, in turn, commence to publicly humiliate you. The suffering you are experiencing is self-induced and deserved and will not directly lead to spiritual growth.  However, if you repent to God for sinning, humility can be learned as you publicly apologize to the individual.  However, this is simply an indirect benefit to your initial action.

Be careful about giving away pieces of your mind, or you might find one day that you have none left!

Realize, as Christians, we will experience suffering ranging from offenses from lost people of the world to those from fellow Christians, including betrayal, loss of things, various temptations, persecutions, etc. However, know that it is a loving and just God who passes judgment for suffering to come into our lives to shape our character into that of Christ.

My brothers and sisters, consider it nothing but joy when you fall into all sorts of trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect effect, so that you will be perfect and complete, not deficient in anything. (James 1:2–4 NET)
Not only this, but we also rejoice in sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance, character, and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Romans 5:3–5 NET)

This shaping or conforming to Christ’s Character includes removing pride.

For even if I wish to boast, I will not be a fool, for I would be telling the truth, but I refrain from this so that no one may regard me beyond what he sees in me or what he hears from me, even because of the extraordinary character of the revelations. Therefore, so that I would not become arrogant, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to trouble me—so that I would not become arrogant. (2 Corinthians 12:6–7 NET)
“I am the true vine and my Father is the gardener.He takes away every branch that does not bear fruit in me. He prunes every branch that bears fruit so that it will bear more fruit. (John 15:1,2 NET)

Satan delivers the suffering to BREAK us!

Be sober and alert. Your enemy the devil, like a roaring lion, is on the prowl looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come so that they may have life, and may have it abundantly. (John 10:10 NET)

But always remember it is God who judged it right to come upon us to MAKE us.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come so that they may have life, and may have it abundantly. (John 10:10 NET)
When they arrived, he said to them, “You yourselves know how I lived the whole time I was with you, from the first day I set foot in the province of Asia, serving the Lord with all humility and with tears, and with the trials that happened to me because of the plots of the Jews. You know that I did not hold back from proclaiming to you anything that would be helpful, and from teaching you publicly and from house to house, testifying to both Jews and Greeks about repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus. And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem without knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit warns me in town after town that imprisonment and persecutions are waiting for me. But I do not consider my life worth anything to myself, so that I may finish my task and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the good news of God’s grace. (Acts 20:18–24 NET)

This is because physical growth is a function of time, mental growth is a function of study, and spiritual growth (1) is a function of obedience in the midst of suffering temptation. The ultimate goal is perfect obedience, which is the cessation of sinning (1).

So, since Christ suffered in the flesh, you also arm yourselves with the same attitude, because the one who has suffered in the flesh has finished with sin, in that he spends the rest of his time on earth concerned about the will of God and not human desires. (1 Peter 4:1–2 NET)

Again, how do we learn obedience? The same way Jesus did, through suffering.  

During his earthly life Christ offered both requests and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death and he was heard because of his devotion. Although he was a son, he learned obedience through the things he suffered. And by being perfected in this way, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, and he was designated by God as high priest in the order of Melchizedek. (Hebrews 5:7–10 NET)
No trial has overtaken you that is not faced by others. And God is faithful: He will not let you be tried beyond what you are able to bear, but with the trial will also provide a way out so that you may be able to endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13 NET). 

Consequently, if we turn to Him in the trial, God will cause it to “work together for good.”

And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose, (Romans 8:28 NET)

However, working together for good does not mean obtaining what we want or think we need but rather being conformed to the image of Jesus Christ – even if that means the suffering must continue for a protracted period of time.

And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose, because those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; and those he called, he also justified; and those he justified, he also glorified. (Romans 8:28–30 NET)
For our momentary, light suffering is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison because we are not looking at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen. For what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:17–18 NET)
And, after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace who called you to his eternal glory in Christ will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him belongs the power forever. Amen. (1 Peter 5:10–11 NET)

Realize that suffering has been effective when you are more Christlike (e.g., more obedient) at its conclusion. We learn to suffer effectively (1) by following the guidance contained in the Bible.

Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles so that we may be able to comfort those experiencing any trouble with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ overflow toward us, so also our comfort through Christ overflows to you. But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort that you experience in your patient endurance of the same sufferings that we also suffer. And our hope for you is steadfast because we know that as you share in our sufferings, so also you will share in our comfort. For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, regarding the affliction that happened to us in the province of Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of living. Indeed we felt as if the sentence of death had been passed against us, so that we would not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead. He delivered us from so great a risk of death, and he will deliver us. We have set our hope on him that he will deliver us yet again, (2 Corinthians 1:3–10 NET)
It was good for me to suffer, so that I might learn your statutes. (Psalm 119:71 NET)
Sorrow is better than laughter, because sober reflection is good for the heart. (Ecclesiastes 7:3 NET)

The wisdom of God appears in afflictions. By these, He separates the sin which He hates, from the son whom He loves. By these thorns, He keeps him from breaking over into Satan’s pleasant pastures, which would fatten him indeed, but only to the slaughter

James H. Aughey 

When division strikes an organization, family, or church, God expects Christians to stand firm and not allow the moment’s chaos to affect them.

Clothe yourselves with the full armor of God so that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. For this reason, take up the full armor of God so that you may be able to stand your ground on the evil day, and having done everything, to stand. (Ephesians 6:11–13 NET)

During these times of divisive behavior, slander, gossip, and a plethora of other evils from Satan, we are tested with the result that spiritual Christians are distinguished from carnal or worldly ones.  

For in the first place, when you come together as a church I hear there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it. For there must in fact be divisions among you, so that those of you who are approved may be evident. (1 Corinthians 11:18–19 NET)
I fed you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready. In fact, you are still not ready, for you are still influenced by the flesh. For since there is still jealousy and dissension among you, are you not influenced by the flesh and behaving like unregenerate people? (1 Corinthians 3:2–3 NET)
For those who live according to the flesh have their outlook shaped by the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit have their outlook shaped by the things of the Spirit. For the outlook of the flesh is death, but the outlook of the Spirit is life and peace, because the outlook of the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to the law of God, nor is it able to do so. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, this person does not belong to him. (Romans 8:5–9  NET)

During these times, we are to conduct ourselves in a manner “worthy of the gospel of Christ.”

Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ so that—whether I come and see you or whether I remain absent—I should hear that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind, by contending side by side for the faith of the gospel, and by not being intimidated in any way by your opponents. This is a sign of their destruction, but of your salvation—a sign which is from God. For it has been granted to you not only to believe in Christ but also to suffer for him, since you are encountering the same conflict that you saw me face and now hear that I am facing. (Philippians 1:27–30 NET)
Finally, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, affectionate, compassionate, and humble. Do not return evil for evil or insult for insult, but instead bless others because you were called to inherit a blessing. For the one who wants to love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from uttering deceit. And he must turn away from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous and his ears are open to their prayer. But the Lord’s face is against those who do evil. (1 Peter 3:8–12 NET)

In other words, God expects the believer to resist Satan’s temptation to retaliate, to take the high road by being one that gives mercy (1), and to be a peacemaker (1).

But now you are preoccupied with the judgment due the wicked, judgment and justice take hold of you. (Job 36:17 NET)

This includes being willing to break fellowship with people who are following the darkness when necessary.

But we command you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to keep away from any brother who lives an undisciplined life and not according to the tradition they received from us. (2 Thessalonians 3:6 NET)

People will let you down, but God never will. 

Your conduct must be free from the love of money and you must be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you and I will never abandon you.” So we can say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper, and I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:5–6 NET)

We are to keep our eyes focused on the “faith of the gospel,” which will anchor our hearts and minds during times of conflict. 

Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ so that—whether I come and see you or whether I remain absent—I should hear that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind, by contending side by side for the faith of the gospel, and by not being intimidated in any way by your opponents. This is a sign of their destruction, but of your salvation—a sign which is from God. For it has been granted to you not only to believe in Christ but also to suffer for him, since you are encountering the same conflict that you saw me face and now hear that I am facing. (Philippians 1:27–30 NET)

We are to follow the “one Spirit,” the Holy Spirit of God, revealed to us through the Holy Scriptures, the Word of God, which is the heart, mind, and soul of Jesus Christ.  

Above all, you do well if you recognize this: No prophecy of scripture ever comes about by the prophet’s own imagination, for no prophecy was ever borne of human impulse; rather, men carried along by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. (2 Peter 1:20–21 NET)

It is not affliction itself, but affliction rightly borne, that does us good

James H. Aughey 

How can you know if we are winning or losing the fight?  We are winning the fight when God’s perfect love has removed all fearful intimidation of the situation from us.

You will be reestablished when I vindicate you. You will not experience oppression; indeed, you will not be afraid. You will not be terrified, for nothing frightening will come near you. (Isaiah 54:14 NET)
There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears punishment has not been perfected in love. (1 John 4:18 NET)
So we can say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper, and I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:6 NET)
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t there more to life than food and more to the body than clothing? Look at the birds in the sky: They do not sow, or reap, or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you more valuable than they are? And which of you by worrying can add even one hour to his life? Why do you worry about clothing? Think about how the flowers of the field grow; they do not work or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his glory was clothed like one of these! And if this is how God clothes the wild grass, which is here today and tomorrow is tossed into the fire to heat the oven, won’t he clothe you even more, you people of little faith? So then, don’t worry saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For the unconverted pursue these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But above all pursue his kingdom and righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. So then, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Today has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:25–34 NET)

We are losing when we allow Satan to discourage, scare, or intimidate us.

For God did not give us a Spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:7 NET)

We must remember that in Christ Jesus, we are already conquerors, and indeed more than conquerors because He has won the victory over sin and death for us at the Cross of Calvary!

And even though you were dead in your transgressions and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, he nevertheless made you alive with him, having forgiven all your transgressions. He has destroyed what was against us, a certificate of indebtedness expressed in decrees opposed to us. He has taken it away by nailing it to the cross. Disarming the rulers and authorities, he has made a public disgrace of them, triumphing over them by the cross. (Colossians 2:13–15 NET)
I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In the world you have trouble and suffering, but take courage — I have conquered the world.” (John 16:33 NET)
The one who practices sin is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was revealed: to destroy the works of the devil. (1 John 3:8 NET)
What then shall we say about these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? Indeed, he who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, freely give us all things? Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is the one who will condemn? Christ is the one who died (and more than that, he was raised), who is at the right hand of God, and who also is interceding for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will trouble, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we encounter death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we have complete victory through him who loved us! For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor heavenly rulers, nor things that are present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:31–39 NET)
For this is the love of God: that we keep his commandments. And his commandments do not weigh us down, because everyone who has been fathered by God conquers the world. This is the conquering power that has conquered the world: our faith. Now who is the person who has conquered the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (1 John 5:3–5 NET)
Then I heard a loud voice in heaven saying, “The salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the ruling authority of his Christ, have now come, because the accuser of our brothers and sisters, the one who accuses them day and night before our God, has been thrown down. But they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die. (Revelation 12:10,11 NET)
The one who has an ear had better hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers, I will permit him to eat from the tree of life that is in the paradise of God.’ (Revelation 2:7 NET)
The one who has an ear had better hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will in no way be harmed by the second death.’ (Revelation 2:11 NET)
The one who has an ear had better hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers, I will give him some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and on that stone will be written a new name that no one can understand except the one who receives it.’ (Revelation 2:17 NET)
And to the one who conquers and who continues in my deeds until the end, I will give him authority over the nations— (Revelation 2:26 NET)
The one who conquers will be dressed like them in white clothing, and I will never erase his name from the book of life, but will declare his name before my Father and before his angels. (Revelation 3:5 NET)
The one who conquers I will make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he will never depart from it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God (the new Jerusalem that comes down out of heaven from my God), and my new name as well. (Revelation 3:12 NET)
I will grant the one who conquers permission to sit with me on my throne, just as I too conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. (Revelation 3:21 NET)
He also said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the one who is thirsty I will give water free of charge from the spring of the water of life. The one who conquers will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be my son. (Revelation 21:6–7 NET)

Realize God laughs at His enemies, not in a mocking derisory way but in Holy laughter, which places Satan firmly under His feet and even goes as far as using the enemy to extend His purposes!

Why do the nations rebel? Why are the countries devising plots that will fail? The kings of the earth form a united front; the rulers collaborate against the Lord and his anointed king. They say, “Let’s tear off the shackles they’ve put on us! Let’s free ourselves from their ropes!” The one enthroned in heaven laughs in disgust; the Lord taunts them. (Psalm 2:1–4 NET)
Wicked men will be wiped out, but those who rely on the Lord are the ones who will possess the land. Evil men will soon disappear; you will stare at the spot where they once were, but they will be gone. But the oppressed will possess the land and enjoy great prosperity. Evil men plot against the godly and viciously attack them. The Lord laughs in disgust at them, for he knows that their day is coming. (Psalm 37:9–13 NET)
Wisdom calls out in the street, she shouts loudly in the plazas; at the head of the noisy streets she calls, in the entrances of the gates in the city she utters her words: “How long will you simpletons love naiveté? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge? If only you will respond to my rebuke, then I will pour out my thoughts to you and I will make my words known to you. However, because I called but you refused to listen, because I stretched out my hand but no one paid attention, because you neglected all my advice, and did not comply with my rebuke, so I myself will laugh when disaster strikes you, I will mock when what you dread comes, when what you dread comes like a whirlwind, and disaster strikes you like a devastating storm, when distressing trouble comes on you. Then they will call to me, but I will not answer; they will diligently seek me, but they will not find me. Because they hated moral knowledge, and did not choose to fear the Lord, they did not comply with my advice, they spurned all my rebuke. Therefore they will eat from the fruit of their way, and they will be stuffed full of their own counsel. For the waywardness of the simpletons will kill them, and the careless ease of fools will destroy them. But the one who listens to me will live in security, and will be at ease from the dread of harm. (Proverbs 1:20–33 NET)
Your obedience is known to all and thus I rejoice over you. But I want you to be wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil. The God of peace will quickly crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you. (Romans 16:19–20 NET)

We are not in an equally-sided battle. God always has a win/win plan for an individual and the big picture (2).

For I know what I have planned for you,’ says the Lord. ‘I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you. I have plans to give you a future filled with hope. (Jeremiah 29:11 NET)

We can be sure that God is working His purpose out in our lives, whatever the present circumstances.

For I am sure of this very thing, that the one who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6 NET)

He has His way of outwitting the enemy. We can look to Him, trusting He will bring about what we can never do through our cleverness and human logic.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding. Acknowledge him in all your ways, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5–6 NET)

Again, when we are following the truth of the Gospel, people Satan has deceived will oppose us, including those we trust the most.

Indeed, it is not an enemy who insults me, or else I could bear it; it is not one who hates me who arrogantly taunts me, or else I could hide from him. But it is you, a man like me, my close friend in whom I confided. We would share personal thoughts with each other; in God’s temple we would walk together among the crowd. (Psalm 55:12–14 NET)
But Jesus said to him, “Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?” (Luke 22:48 NET)
But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing, among whom the god of this age has blinded the minds of those who do not believe so they would not see the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God. (2 Corinthians 4:3–4 NET)
And although you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you formerly lived according to this world’s present path, according to the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the ruler of the spirit that is now energizing the sons of disobedience, among whom all of us also formerly lived out our lives in the cravings of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath even as the rest … (Ephesians 2:1–3 NET)
We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. (1 John 5:19 NET) 

In these circumstances, we must keep our eyes on Jesus and not the stormy conflict.

So he said, “Come.” Peter got out of the boat, walked on the water, and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind he became afraid. And starting to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” (Matthew 14:29–30 NET)

Rest in the truth of the Gospel and know God will judge every evil action brought against us by those who do not like our following Jesus. Ultimately, those who follow Satan will be completely destroyed (1). Still, we who follow Jesus Christ will be completely saved (1) and given the Kingdom of Heaven (1) as our home.

For it is time for judgment to begin, starting with the house of God. And if it starts with us, what will be the fate of those who are disobedient to the gospel of God? And if the righteous are barely saved, what will become of the ungodly and sinners? So then let those who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful Creator as they do good. (1 Peter 4:17–19 NET)
Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ so that—whether I come and see you or whether I remain absent—I should hear that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind, by contending side by side for the faith of the gospel, and by not being intimidated in any way by your opponents. This is a sign of their destruction, but of your salvation—a sign which is from God. For it has been granted to you not only to believe in Christ but also to suffer for him, since you are encountering the same conflict that you saw me face and now hear that I am facing. (Philippians 1:27–30 NET)
For we know the one who said, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Hebrews 10:30–31 NET)
Now Enoch, the seventh in descent beginning with Adam, even prophesied of them, saying, “Look! The Lord is coming with thousands and thousands of his holy ones, to execute judgment on all, and to convict every person of all their thoroughly ungodly deeds that they have committed, and of all the harsh words that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” (Jude 14–15 NET)
The Lord works everything for its own ends— even the wicked for the day of disaster. (Proverbs 16:4 NET)
Then I saw a large white throne and the one who was seated on it; the earth and the heaven fled from his presence, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne. Then books were opened, and another book was opened—the book of life. So the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to their deeds. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and Death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each one was judged according to his deeds. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death—the lake of fire. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, that person was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:11–15 NET)
So he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. (Hebrews 7:25 NET)
For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. (Romans 10:13 NET)
“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father is well pleased to give you the kingdom. (Luke 12:32 NET)
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and earth had ceased to exist, and the sea existed no more. And I saw the holy city—the new Jerusalem—descending out of heaven from God, made ready like a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying: “Look! The residence of God is among human beings. He will live among them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death will not exist any more—or mourning, or crying, or pain, for the former things have ceased to exist.” And the one seated on the throne said: “Look! I am making all things new!” Then he said to me, “Write it down, because these words are reliable and true.” He also said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the one who is thirsty I will give water free of charge from the spring of the water of life. The one who conquers will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But to the cowards, unbelievers, detestable persons, murderers, the sexually immoral, and those who practice magic spells, idol worshipers, and all those who lie, their place will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur. That is the second death.” (Revelation 21:1–8 NET)
Its gates will never be closed during the day (and there will be no night there). They will bring the grandeur and the wealth of the nations into it, but nothing ritually unclean will ever enter into it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or practices falsehood, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. (Revelation 21:25–27 NET)
Now that is something to have a BEAUTIFUL ATTITUDE about! 

Summary Verses:

Love must be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil, cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another with mutual love, showing eagerness in honoring one another. Do not lag in zeal, be enthusiastic in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, endure in suffering, persist in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints, pursue hospitality. Bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty but associate with the lowly. Do not be conceited.Do not repay anyone evil for evil; consider what is good before all people.If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all people. Do not avenge yourselves, dear friends, but give place to God’s wrath, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Rather, if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in doing this you will be heaping burning coals on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:9-21)

A Compendium of

Verses about Suffering as a Believer

“A disciple is not greater than his teacher, nor a slave greater than his master. It is enough for the disciple to become like his teacher, and the slave like his master. If they have called the head of the house ‘Beelzebul,’ how much more will they defame the members of his household! (Matthew 10:24–25 NET)
“If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own. However, because you do not belong to the world, but I chose you out of the world, for this reason the world hates you.Remember what I told you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they obeyed my word, they will obey yours too. (John 15:18–20 NET)
Therefore do not be surprised, brothers and sisters, if the world hates you. (1 John 3:13 NET)
I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In the world you have trouble and suffering, but take courage—I have conquered the world.” (John 16:33 NET)
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor’ and ‘hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be like your Father in heaven, since he causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Even the tax collectors do the same, don’t they? And if you only greet your brothers, what more do you do? Even the Gentiles do the same, don’t they? So then, be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:43–48 NET)
But now I am coming to you, and I am saying these things in the world, so they may experience my joy completed in themselves. I have given them your word, and the world has hated them, because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but that you keep them safe from the evil one. They do not belong to the world just as I do not belong to the world. Set them apart in the truth; your word is truth. Just as you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world. And I set myself apart on their behalf, so that they too may be truly set apart. “I am not praying only on their behalf, but also on behalf of those who believe in me through their testimony, that they will all be one, just as you, Father, are in me and I am in you. I pray that they will be in us, so that the world will believe that you sent me. The glory you gave to me I have given to them, that they may be one just as we are one—I in them and you in me—that they may be completely one, so that the world will know that you sent me, and you have loved them just as you have loved me. (John 17:13–23 NET)
So, since Christ suffered in the flesh, you also arm yourselves with the same attitude, because the one who has suffered in the flesh has finished with sin, (1 Peter 4:1 NET)
Dear friends, do not be astonished that a trial by fire is occurring among you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice in the degree that you have shared in the sufferings of Christ, so that when his glory is revealed you may also rejoice and be glad. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory, who is the Spirit of God, rests on you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or thief or criminal or as a troublemaker. But if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but glorify God that you bear such a name. (1 Peter 4:12–16 NET)
Take your share of suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one in military service gets entangled in matters of everyday life; otherwise he will not please the one who recruited him. Also, if anyone competes as an athlete, he will not be crowned as the winner unless he competes according to the rules.The farmer who works hard ought to have the first share of the crops. Think about what I am saying and the Lord will give you understanding of all this. (2 Timothy 2:3–7)
But in fact, if you happen to suffer for doing what is right, you are blessed. But do not be terrified of them or be shaken. But set Christ apart as Lord in your hearts and always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks about the hope you possess. (1 Peter 3:14–15 NET)
“Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you and say all kinds of evil things about you falsely on account of me. Rejoice and be glad because your reward is great in heaven, for they persecuted the prophets before you in the same way. (Matthew 5:11–12 NET)
“Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you and insult you and reject you as evil on account of the Son of Man! Rejoice in that day, and jump for joy, because your reward is great in heaven. For their ancestors did the same things to the prophets. (Luke 6:22–23 NET)
So then let those who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful Creator as they do good. (1 Peter 4:19 NET)
For it has been granted to you not only to believe in Christ but also to suffer for him, since you are encountering the same conflict that you saw me face and now hear that I am facing. (Philippians 1:29,30 NET)
My brothers and sisters, consider it nothing but joy when you fall into all sorts of trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect effect, so that you will be perfect and complete, not deficient in anything. (James 1:2–4 NET)
And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, when you received the message with joy that comes from the Holy Spirit, despite great affliction. (1 Thessalonians 1:6 NET)
It was good for me to suffer, so that I might learn your statutes. (Psalm 119:71 NET)
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for you, and I fill up in my physical body—for the sake of his body, the church—what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ. (Colossians 1:24 NET)
From now on let no one cause me trouble, for I bear the marks of Jesus on my body. (Galatians 6:17)
The godly face many dangers, but the Lord saves them from each one of them. (Psalm 34:19 NET)
so that no one would be shaken by these afflictions. For you yourselves know that we are destined for this. For in fact when we were with you, we were telling you in advance that we would suffer affliction, and so it has happened, as you well know. (1 Thessalonians 3:3,4 NET)
This is evidence of God’s righteous judgment, to make you worthy of the kingdom of God, for which in fact you are suffering. (2 Thessalonians 1:5 NET)
So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me, a prisoner for his sake, but by God’s power accept your share of suffering for the gospel. (2 Timothy 1:8 NET)
Now in fact all who want to live godly lives in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. (2 Timothy 3:12 NET)
The crucible is for refining silver and the furnace is for gold, likewise the Lord tests hearts. (Proverbs 17:3 NET)
Look, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have purified you in the furnace of misery. (Isaiah 48:10 NET)
As the crucible is for silver and the furnace is for gold, so a person is proved by the praise he receives. (Proverbs 27:21 NET)
He delivers the afflicted by their afflictions, he reveals himself to them by their suffering. (Job 36:15)
They strengthened the souls of the disciples and encouraged them to continue in the faith, saying, “We must enter the kingdom of God through many persecutions.” (Acts 14:22 NET)
When they arrived, he said to them, “You yourselves know how I lived the whole time I was with you, from the first day I set foot in the province of Asia, serving the Lord with all humility and with tears, and with the trials that happened to me because of the plots of the Jews. You know that I did not hold back from proclaiming to you anything that would be helpful, and from teaching you publicly and from house to house, testifying to both Jews and Greeks about repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus. And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem without knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit warns me in town after town that imprisonment and persecutions are waiting for me. But I do not consider my life worth anything to myself, so that I may finish my task and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the good news of God’s grace. (Acts 20:18–24 NET)
You, however, be self-controlled in all things, endure hardship, do an evangelist’s work, fulfill your ministry. For I am already being poured out as an offering, and the time for me to depart is at hand. I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith! Finally the crown of righteousness is reserved for me. The Lord, the righteous Judge, will award it to me in that day—and not to me only, but also to all who have set their affection on his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:5–8 NET)
This brings you great joy, although you may have to suffer for a short time in various trials. Such trials show the proven character of your faith, which is much more valuable than gold—gold that is tested by fire, even though it is passing away—and will bring praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. (1 Peter 1:6–7 NET)
and they summoned the apostles and had them beaten. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus and released them. So they left the council rejoicing because they had been considered worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name.And every day both in the temple courts and from house to house, they did not stop teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus was the Christ. (Acts 5:40–42 NET)
And, after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace who called you to his eternal glory in Christ will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him belongs the power forever. Amen. (1 Peter 5:10,11 NET)
Therefore, to sanctify the people by his own blood, Jesus also suffered outside the camp. We must go out to him, then, outside the camp, bearing the abuse he experienced. For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, acknowledging his name. And do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for God is pleased with such sacrifices. (Hebrews 13:12–16 NET)
The Beautiful Attitudes Series:


Shalom
(Security, Wholeness, Success)
Peace

Then he said to them, “Therefore every expert in the law who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his treasure what is new and old.” (Matthew 13:52 NET)


(1) Select the link to open another article with additional information in a new tab.

(2) Adapted from Seeds of the Kingdom Daily Devotional, December 24, 2013: God Laughs at His enemies by Fiona Horrobin.

Hal has taught the Bible for over three decades. Through an interdenominational ministry dedicated to helping the local church build men for Jesus, Hal trained men, the leaders of men’s ministries, and provided pulpit supply. Before that, he was a Men’s Ministry Leader and an Adult Bible Fellowship teacher of a seventy-five-member class at a denominational megachurch. Presently, Hal desires to honor Jesus Christ through this Internet teaching ministry, thereby glorifying the Heavenly Father in the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. He believes, second to cultivating his relationship with God that raising his family unto the Lord is the most significant task for him while on Earth. Furthermore, Hal believes that being a successful leader in the church or workplace is no substitute for failing to be a successful leader at home.  DOULOS HAL'S TOPICAL INDEX

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