Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. Matthew 24:9
Very few people like to be hated. Most people want to be liked. On every social media platform people strive to get more people to like and follow them. The more they get, the happier they are.
When a person is not liked or is directly hated, he will often wonder why it is that way. Most often people will think that there is something wrong with them, because they are hated.
Jesus gave a promise that in the end times, those who follow Him would be hated and persecuted.
Just as the world likes to be liked, many believers like to be liked. No one wants to be hated, so they will often do what it takes to be liked.
The sad part is that many believers will compromise their walk with God in order to be liked. They will choose to overlook sin. They will choose to participate in sin and even promote it. Many will water down the gospel message that people are to leave their life of sin and follow Jesus. Some will even say that there is more than one way to God.
When a believer is truly following hard after God, he will be hated by this world. Satan will paint a large target on him to try and destroy him.
Hatred and persecution will occur, no matter how nice of a person the believer is, because he goes against the ways and thoughts of this world. The believer does this because of Jesus. The world hates him because of what Jesus stands for.
Persecution is not a matter of ‘if’, but ‘when’. Following Jesus will bring it on.
You may not have had to suffer persecution yet, but it will come if you fully follow Jesus and are vocal about it. Do not be surprised when it occurs. They persecuted Jesus and they will persecute you.
Count it a joy when they hate you because of your belief in Jesus, because then you know you are most likely doing what God wants. Do not seek to be liked by this fallen world. Seek to be loved by God and have God be pleased with who you are and what you are doing for Him. God loves you regardless, but wants you to live for Him.
Today I pray that you will live by God’s holy standards; that you will not seek to please this world; that you will be a true witness of Jesus; that God will strengthen you in times of hatred and persecution; and that you will remain true and pure before God.
Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. Matthew 23:27
Outward appearance is only skin deep. It is easy for a person to look like a very good person on the outside, but be completely different in character on the inside.
Inner, true motives for actions are very seldom revealed by many people. Actions can often be driven by self pride, jealousy, revenge or some other sinful reason, even though the action looks good.
Jesus harshly rebukes the Pharisees of being hypocritical. They looked good on the outside, but inside were full of sin.
Just as many in this world can be very ugly on the inner character, while looking good on the outside, many believers can be the same way. Some in the church can quote lots of scripture and teach very well, looking good on the outside, but their thoughts are on sin all the time. They can be jealous, greedy, lewd thoughts, inner anger and more things that cannot always be seen on the outside. They are whitewashed tombs.
When Jesus came, He came to heal the whole person, from the inside out. Believers are to be a new creation, that takes captive their thoughts for God’s glory.
The inner heart must match the outer actions. One must never let his thoughts run rampant with sin. Ugliness on the inside will always override and destroy beauty on the outside. If they not match inside and out, there is hypocrisy, doing one thing, but thinking another.
Either the believer is serving and following Jesus with his whole life, inside and out, or he is not.
Only you and God can know whether your actions and heart line up with God’s word or not. People can only see your actions, but those actions come from the overflow of your heart.
Allow God to work inside of you to change you from the inside out. Let God give you a clean, pure heart that truly follows Him.
Do not do one thing on the outside, while having an inner heart full of sin and deceit. If you do that, God will spit you out for not truly making Jesus your Lord.
Have your heart and actions matching each other. Don’t be a hypocrite.
Today I pray that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will allow the Holy Spirit to change your heart and thoughts; that God will make you a new creation; and that your thoughts and actions will honor God.