“Because you’re facing spiritual attack, then you’re doing something right and Satan sees you as quite a threat to his agenda. So, really, this is actually a joyful time. A time to rejoice because you’re experiencing persecution because of your stand with Christ,” said my daughter to me when we were talking about some pretty recent experiences.
“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me,” Matthew 5:11.
“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 5:12
When I was younger, in my teens and early 20’s….ok, even a little bit into 30’s, my personality was just this – a people pleaser. Whatever it took to keep the peace and please others, I was all about it! Oh, how I wanted to please eeeeverybody! The thought of someone being upset with me, rejecting me, or letting someone down was just not something I handled well. I wanted all people to be happy and happy with me so I knew exactly what to do to keep that going. That’s why I was recognized by my classmates as having “Best Personality,” “Wittiest Girl” and “Class Favorite.” I was so wrapped up about people pleasing, and under quite the religious banner, too.
The saddest choice I’d make were those times when I denied my loyalty to Christ, denied my loyalty to what was ‘truth’ and denied loyalty to my family and people who loved me. For some reason, when it was time to speak the truth or take a stand, I’d cave. Not every time, but there were those times when loyalty took a backseat, and I found myself straddling the fence instead of defending the truth.
Honestly, I believe this is also true of many young people today. When facing situations where loyalty is tested, there is a struggle – an inner battle that is sometimes won and sometimes lost.
I hurt so many people, and I definitely injured relationships because I just didn’t (wouldn’t) take a stand for righteousness. I was more concerned about taking a stand for myself.
Until one day I read this verse and after it convicted me to the core, it also lifted the “people pleasing” stronghold off my heart. Because you see, people pleasers do what they do because they want one thing – peace. They avoid conflict like a plague and they will even lie or give false impressions to folks just to make it “feel like peace” is in the relationship.
Here’s the verse –
“Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.” Psalm 119:165
“GREAT PEACE, (not just some ordinary peace, but huge, magnificent, cup-overflowing, grandiose, real, from-the-throne-room-of-God, holy and true peace!), have those who love YOUR LAW! In other words, they love their Bibles! They love the inspired Word of God to the point that they hide His law in their hearts through memorizing the message, but they show their love by DOING what it says. They show their love for His Word through their obedience…even in the face of conflict. Even in the face of relational conflict. You see, …
The Word determines our walk, not the people of the world.
Is there a way to truly rest in God’s great peace even when people betray you, persecute you, belittle, hurt, disappoint or harass you? Yes! Here’s what the Word teaches:
- Love the Word of God
2. Love the Word of God by hiding it in your heart (means meditating on it.)
3. Love the Word of God by praying it back to God.
4. Love the Word of God by obeying with it says.
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“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” Matthew 5:44
“Bless those who persecute you,” Romans 12:14.
“Pray for those who mistreat you,” Luke 6:28.
If you are in a relationship now where there has been betrayal, broken trust and even verbal or emotional persecution simply because of your identity [efforts to demonstrate] in Christ, make this your prayer.
Lord, You have given me a peace that allows me to live confidently in this world. Even if people disagree with my beliefs, even if I am persecuted or belittled or betrayed, I will rest in Your peace. Nothing has the power to come against me, because I am Your child. I love Your law and I ask that you enable me to love it deeper and deeper every day. I seek to follow it. In Jesus’ name, amen.
And then, rest. Rest in His peace and stay close to His heart through His Word. His Word will speak to you exactly what you are to pray and what you are to do.
And remember, ‘people pleasing’ is not what Jesus asked us to do. Instead, His prayer for you and for me before He returned to His Father was this –
“I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.” John 17:14-15.
Show love and live confidently in this world … even if people disagree.
In Great Peace,