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The teachings of Jesus place us in a difficult position. We are told to fast, pray, and aid the poor secretly, and to hush up healings. We should do these things (fast, pray, help the poor, and heal) but we shouldn't say anything about it. These actions prove our love for God and others, but they are not our message. They are what Christians do... but they are to be done more or less secretly.

Our position is 'difficult' because these are the kind of things that make us popular if people hear about them. The world loves people who blow their own horn. But Jesus has told us not to talk about these things.

So what should we be talking about? Jesus said, "Teach all nations to obey everything I have told you to do." (Matthew 28:19-20) Uh-oh! People don't want to hear that.

But it is what we need to tell them.

Christ's greatest commandment was to love God and others. We should, like John, tell people to show this love by giving their time and possessions to all whom they claim to love. (1 John 3:16-17) But people don't want to be told this either. They want to be told that it doesn't matter if they obey Jesus or not. We cannot, of course, do this. "Let us not love in word, neither in tongue, but in deed and in truth." (1 John 3:18)

However, there is one thing that we are allowed to brag about.

After having obeyed Jesus by telling people to obey him, he says we can boast about being persecuted! "...when people revile you and persecute you and say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake, rejoice and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in heaven... You are the salt of the earth... You are the light of the world... Let your light shine before people so they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 5:11-16)

But Jesus told us to keep certain good works secret. How can people see our good works without glorifying us?

We do it by letting them see us being persecuted!

Paul says, "God forbid that I should glory, except in the cross of Christ, by whom the world is crucified to me and I to it." (Galatians 6:14)

Peter says, "It is better that you suffer for well doing than for evil doing." (1 Peter 3:16-17)

The more good we do secretly, the more persecution we are going to get. (John 15:18-21) The prince of this world (Satan) senses our commitment to God and love. If our actions communicate love and an absence of fear, persecution is a natural by-product. And if we do anything to make that persecution known, it will lead to more persecution, because the world hates martyrs.

So do not be ashamed to take up your cross and follow Jesus. You can, through your persecution, bring glory to your heavenly Father as Jesus did, and you will not be guilty of robbing glory for yourself by doing so.

(See also Why So Much Persecution?)

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