When Jesus was on earth He seemed to assume that as His followers there were things we would naturally do. Not to try to earn a place in heaven. Not to rack up points on the “goodness” scale. Not to “prove” we were His followers.
No. Things we would do because as a committed follower of Jesus it would be as natural as breathing in and out. We don’t stop and consciously think “I need to breath now.” When we walk we do not think “I need to lift my right foot up, move it forward and put it down.” These are just natural reactions to being alive.
So Jesus states that there are actions we will take – perhaps not even consciously but just as a natural response to His love and forgiveness to us.
Sadly we often seem to think the things He mentioned are suggestions, not actual outcomes of following Him.
Jesus told us:
But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”
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.
That last one is a bit hard, isn’t it? But if we are to be like Jesus, we need to rejoice when we are put down for our beliefs. Rejoice, not complain. Not get mad. Rejoice.
As our culture seems to be going further and further from Christian principles, we need to remember that one.
But even with society becoming more hostile to Christian standards, we in the USA know nothing about real persecution.
The following is a list taken from the 2019 World Watch List by Open Doors. This is a mission organization that supports persecuted believers in more than 60 countries.
North Korea – Afghanistan – Somalia – Libya – Pakistan – Sudan – Eritrea
Yemen – Iran – India – Syria – Nigeria – Iraq – Maldives – Saudi Arabia
Egypt – Uzbekistan – Myanmar – Laos – Vietnam – Central African Republic
Algeria – Turkmenistan – Mali – Mauritania – Turkey – China – Ethiopia
Tajikistan – Indonesia – Jordan – Nepal – Bhutan – Kazakhstan – Morocco
Brunei – Tunisia – Qatar – Mexico – Kenya – Russian Federation – Malaysia
Kuwait – Oman – United Arab Emirates – Sri Lanka – Colombia – Bangladesh
Palestinian Territories – Azerbaijan
For more detailed information on these countries and suggestions on how to pray for each particular nation, check out this website.