Devotional: ‘Rewarded for Faithful Suffering’

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Hebrews 10:32 But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, 33 sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. 34 For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. ESV

Since the earliest days of the church, there have been those who have hated Christians. Jesus said – “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.” (John 15:18) The persecution of Christians began with the martyrdom of a young man named Stephen (see Acts 6-7) and it continues on even until today. I have read that there were more Christians martyred during the 20th century, than all the other nineteen centuries combined.

Like many of the New Testament letters, the book of Hebrews was originally written to those who were facing such persecution. In order to encourage them to remain steadfast, the author reminds them of how they have faithfully endured difficulty in the past. “…you endured a hard struggle with sufferings… and had compassion on those in prison… joyfully accepting the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one.” In other words, “You’ve come this far. Don’t give up now.”

The author praised them for their steadfastness in the past and he reminded them of God’s reward in the future.

Hebrews 10:35 Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. 37 For, “Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay; 38 but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.” 39 But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.

Jesus spoke of the reward awaiting those who are willing to suffer for His sake.

Matthew 5:10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

Blessed are you when others will speak evil of you because you are a Christian. Blessed are you when you are persecuted for being righteous. You are a part of that great group who as suffered in the past, and you will be a part of that great group who will be rewarded in the future.

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