Along with the good news comes some bad news. There had to be a catch somewhere, didn't there? Well, here it is in both the eighth and ninth beatitudes. Blessings and rewards are still there, but persecutions are added. "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Persecutions? Who wants them?
In the fourth beatitude, Jesus asked you to hunger and thirst after righteousness. Now he says you could be persecuted if you are righteous. But he says don't worry about it. You will be blessed with the benefits of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Let's discuss persecution and also the Kingdom of Heaven. The standard definition of persecuted means to be harassed. Types and degrees of harassment can vary. The fact is that some will seek to injure you in one way or the other because you are righteous. They know they reflect poorly in your new light.
When you turn from worldliness and all that means, and seek a face-to-face relationship with God, you change. Your outlook and goals become spiritual instead of material. Now you are different. This threatens those who don't understand that life's base is spiritual.
In the natural, people put goods first and God second. Now you have put God first and goods second. Your outlook seems to be crazy. You are crazy, but you are crazy like the fox. You now have the best of this life and the life yet to come.
You know that when God takes control of your life, he makes good things happen. Those blessings happen because of his love and grace, not because of conniving or striving. When God is in control, goods follow grace as gifts. This is the Kingdom of Heaven.
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