"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake" (Matthew 5:10). I know what you're thinking. Is the highway to happiness really paved with persecution?

Nobody volunteers for ill-treatment, or travels intentionally through a valley of torture, imprisonment, attacks and ridicule. But according to Jesus, persecution is expected in the Christian life. He goes on to say, "Blessed are you when people insult you . . . and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me" (Matthew 5:11). 

Because of me. That's the key. Persecution is a blessing only when we suffer because of Jesus. He told his disciples, "If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also" (John 15:18). 

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