The Cause of Righteousness
Oct 11th, 2011 | By Byron Wicker | Category: Women of Faith, Words of Wisdom
Dear People Who Keep Company with God,
Jesus Christ is riding forth for the cause of righteousness because God’s solution for all our woes is to give us the gift of righteousness (Rom. 3:21-31). The last beatitude in Jesus Sermon on the Mount gives us a perspective on righteousness that will enable us to more fully possess the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.” Matthew 5:10-11
A few years ago I had a vision during worship on a Sunday morning. I saw into heaven all the martyrs from eternity past were marching to their sure deaths. They had this look on their face. It was one of absolute adoration, devotion, love and focus on the Lord Jesus Christ. They gladly marched to their death for Him. The vision shook me and still does to this day. Being martyred is the highest level of persecution and not all believers are called to this level of persecution, but all believers are called to lesser degrees of persecution (Acts 14:22). It is because all believers are called to posses the kingdom of heaven. Let’s make this clear God does not cause persecution, suffering and sorrow. That is the work of the devil. This is clearly illustrated in the definition of persecuted, it means to be pursued, follow after, suffer, chase or run after with hostile intent, to hunt. The word has a strong meaning of being followed or chased after. It is like a continuous, ruthless chase to hunt down the prey.
Since I had that vision our lives have increasingly become a strange mix of blessings and sorrow. This is one of the great paradoxes of the Christian life. We have an incredible increasing favor on us, but we are living in a world of increasing sorrow, pain, rejection and violence. There is an increasing antagonism and violence being released against Christianity. For the first century Christians, persecution was a norm rather than an exception. It is something we are now learning and it is not an easy lesson. We should not be naïve about this, if we are going to walk in the power of the first century Christians, we are going to face the same devil they faced and learn to overcome him as they did.
When we go through hardship for the sake of the kingdom of heaven Jesus said to “Rejoice and be exceedingly glad for great is your reward in heaven”(Mt. 5:12). It is difficult to rejoice in suffering when we do not see the bigger picture. In the natural, women long and desire motherhood. The focus is not on the suffering of pregnancy, labor and delivery, but the joy that the child will bring. That is what we are learning; possessing the kingdom of heaven is possessing righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit in spite of the momentary light afflictions we are having to endure (Rom. 14:17).
Byron Wicker was saved in the mid 1970’s after having an encounter with the supernatural power of God. His Christian life and ministry is marked by dreams, visions, revelations of the Lord and heavenly encounters. He has been deeply involved in and impacted by various renewal outpourings since the 1970’s. After a successful engineering career he felt called to enter the pastoral ministry in the early 1990s and is currently the lead pastor of RiverLife Fellowship Church in Mooresville, NC. He has been involved in starting a ministry training school, a K-12 Christian Academy, healing rooms, a wellness center and church planting.