Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” ~ Matthew 5:10-12
“It is not enough to have a vision, you need a strategy.” ~ Bishop T.D. Jakes
The final be attitude is the most important one, which is being persecuted because of righteousness. As we climb up the mountain of faith there are going to be obstacles that get in our way. The Greek meaning of persecute is to pursue with great haste, to apprehend. The negative connotation is to pursue to kill and destroy with great haste. I believe the persecution Jesus is referring to here is not only religious persecution, but personal, people, and enemy persecution. There are three tactics to deal with each of these types of attacks. T.D. Jakes has a ministry that has grown from 100 to 30,000 members and he began this awesome ministry in a small storefront. I was so inspired this morning in seeing him talk about how he started preaching to an empty church, but was so tenacious with his trust in what God had for his path. At this moment, I am faced with going from three clients at the beginning of the year, down to one. The world would say, “David you need to try something different, why are you wasting your time?” I went through some very difficult doubt this week and learned that the best strategy to deal with doubt is not to look for encouragement from others, which is great, but to find it within myself. Doubt is a lonely road that will have you shaken internally, but not eternally. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever and nothing anyone does, no obstacle will keep you from His will for your life. I have the vision; I am formulating a strategy to move to the next level of the mountain of faith, to get to the top of my Everest.
When you stand firm with Christ you are going to face persecutions and you have to formulate a strategy to deal with obstacles when you are climbing your faith Everest. The Kingdom of Heaven is at the top of the mountain. Self-doubt is a personal persecution that has to be overcome with any type of success. The first strategy when faced with this persecution obstacle is to find encouragement within you to get through the obstacle. The only time we should look down is just to see how far we have gone. Yesterday you were at this point, today due to growth, you are now set free from yesterday, and so you will be set free today with the seemingly impossible block to your climb. Courage is fear under control and faith put into practice. When faced with that hindrance, look to your positive past. Don’t give ground to negative doubt, give ground only to positive thoughts. Encourage yourself.
The next tactic to get past our deterrent is to get counsel from close friends. People will tell you that you are a fool for what you are aiming for, close friends are going to tell you that if you dream it, you can achieve it. Most people when they are climbing a difficult mountain have a team along with them. Sometimes it takes a team to get past a difficult rock facing. Your inner circle of friends will always be truthful to you and should be trustworthy to take counsel from; they should be godly. Answer people persecution with people encouragement.
The final obstacle we face is spiritual opposition or persecution. The enemy will come at you with negative ideas built within your own self-doubt. If you allow the enemy a foothold in your life, you will look down and not see your progress, but will see all the other tough things you have had to deal with going up the mountain. Instead of energy, you will find weariness and want to quit and throw in the towel. A positive glance back is all we need, if we keep looking down fear will overcome your courage and faith will weaken. Always look back up the mountain, focus on God’s promises, claim the truths of His word, and know you will overcome this, because He helped you overcome obstacles before.
As a final reminder the tools we need to get up the Everest of our faith begins with your hope rope. The next tool is your harness of comfort to give you stability as you climb. Your strong arms and legs will help you overcome gravity. A determined spirit, a set goal, a dream to achieve will be the first internal tool. Another internal tool is the very act of climbing and moving up the mountain, mercy moves us into action. The correct clothing, be clothed in purity to stay strong. The next internal tool to get up to the top is peace. The final tool is what we just talked about, using a strategy to move around hindrances to climbing the mountain. We will have them three ways: personal self-doubt, people, and from the enemy. We answer them with personal encouragement, people encouragement, and God encouragement. Equip yourself with these things and attitudes and you will make it to the top of your Everest.
© [David Howard], [David’s Body Temple], 2011-2015.