Our verse for today comes from Matthew 10:28, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”
We’ve all heard that saying, “be careful what you pray for – you just might get it.” As Jesus wraps up His beatitudes, He says, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Usually when we are cautioned about what we might pray for, it’s because we may not be too excited about the way in which God will choose to answer our prayer. Asking for patience is often the case. We long for more patience, but we generally don’t crave the path required to receive it, which can include trying circumstances and many opportunities to exercise and grow patience.We’d much prefer to be handed patience than to have to endure long suffering.
In a similar vein is the area of righteousness and persecution. We don’t pray to be insulted or belittled or embarrassed, but the righteousness we desire may very likely bring with it times of suffering and ridicule. And our human tendency is to pull back from that. We can pray in our homes, sing joyfully in our cars, and worship with other believers in our church all day long. But sometimes we forget that we signed up for a bit more than that. If the believers of the early church had the same amount of boldness and courage that you have, would the church of Christ exist today? If they valued their comfort or feared humiliation like you might, would they have ever dared to talk of Jesus with anyone outside of their own circle of friends, much less their own city? But the solution is not praying to be persecuted.
What we need to be doing is seeking Him and His righteousness. We need to be seeking it first. We need to be seeking it with all our heart, soul, and mind. When our eyes are so fixed on that prize, when the trinkets and distractions are brushed to the side, then we’ll understand that we don’t need Jesus and comfort, or Jesus and popularity, or Jesus and wealth. Jesus is enough.
As we seek Him today, ask yourself what you are really seeking. Are you seeking Jesus, or are you seeking the comfort and peace that He can give? Ask Him to bring you to wherever He is, even if it’s in a desert or on the other end of someone’s laughter.