CrossReads Weekly Devotional: For Righteousness’ Sake 6/5/2023

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by Precarious Yates

Matthew 5:10

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

There is a secret that Jesus knows about us. Those who cringe in fear and walk away from beliefs at the first sign of criticism didn’t really believe in the first place. Jesus knows that persecution acts like a winnowing fork, and this is often released from His hand to bring blessing to us. John the Baptist talked about this when he was ministering in the wilderness. It says in Matthew 3:12 “His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

Persecution is how the wheat is separated from the chaff. Persecution shapes us and molds us into the image of Christ, because it gives us an opportunity to respond the way He did. 

As 1 Peter 2:21-23 says

“For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.”

We should not allow persecution provoke negative attitudes toward the world. Neither should we provoke persecution by goading people. At the same time, we should be prepared for persecution that comes. This is the narrow way Jesus spoke about, because He promised us that in this world we would have trouble. The persecution will come. And with that also comes blessing. So, how do we prepare ourselves for these?

We prepare for both the persecution and the blessing by pressing into relationship with the Lord. The virgins with the oil are the ones who are available to greet the Bridegroom when He comes (see Matt. 25). Oil is made by intense pressure and heat. Gethsemane is literally translated to “olive press.” When we go through pressures while maintaining communion with the Lord, when we go through the fire and notice He’s there with us (see Daniel 3), we have a history of knowing Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings (see Phil. 3:10). 

When we, while facing trials, choose the narrow way, the way of love, joy, and peace, and the blessings, even when we don’t feel any of these yet, we choose the Lord and the things that bring pleasure to His heart. These choices, hour after hour, day after day, year after year, form character within our hearts. God uses our willingness and our yes toward His heart and purposes and He forms our hearts to resemble that of His Son, Jesus. This is how we hunger and thirst for righteousness. This is how we enter into blessings!

Blessings to you in the name of Jesus!

Precarious Yates

About the Author:

Precarious YatesPrecarious Yates has lived in 8 different states of the Union and 3 different countries, but currently lives in Texas with her husband, her daughter and their big dogs. When she’s not writing, she enjoys music, teaching, playing on jungle gyms, praying and reading. She holds a Masters in the art of making tea and coffee and a PhD in Slinky® disentangling.


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