Sunday, August 20, 2006

Luke 6:20-23
"God blesses you who are hated and excluded and mocked and cursed because you are identified with me, the Son of Man" (Luke 6:22, NLT).
Weird, isn't it, how it doesn't take much more than the name of Jesus to stir up controversy?
If you're having a conversation with your friends about religion, faith or spirituality, do you ever hesitate to be real about what you believe? Hey, if you answer "yes" to that, you're not alone. The truth is it can be difficult to identify with Christ. Look at Peter in Luke 22:54-62. In one evening, three different people asked if he was with Jesus, and each time he was like, "No way--I don't even know Him."
And Jesus knew--he knew Peter would deny Him, and He knew you and I would encounter some opposition as we walk with Him and identify ourselves as "Christians" or "Christ-followers."
What is it about Jesus that makes some people freak out? It could be that some feel like you're "judging" them if you talk about following Christ and that's not a choice they've made. Or they might feel like you're trying to force them to believe what you do. Still others might feel a sense of conviction, knowing that God is pursuing a relationship with them, but they keep saying "no" to Him. Whatever the situation, you can know this for sure: If you keep your eyes focused on Jesus and determine to follow Him, no matter what, you'll be rewarded for that--according to today's verse, you'll be "blessed." Maybe not today, tomorrow or even five years from now…maybe not even until you see Jesus face to face in heaven. But eventually, your commitment to Christ, especially in the face of adversity, will be rewarded. Hold on to that hope--it'll get you through the tough times.

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