In my last post, I briefly discussed spiritual warfare, our place in the battle between heaven and hell. Most us won't be called to deliver someone from a demon, and few of us will be asked to break a generational curse. The life of the average Christian is still one of spiritual warfare, but one on a more seemingly mundane level, more of a daily grind -- but that grind isn't a walk in the park.
The last two of the Beatitudes can be combined to say, "Blessed are the persecuted." These are the ones who actively suffer for their faith. Such suffering can take many forms: loss of family, loss of friends, loss of business, loss of freedom, loss of reputation, loss of life, loss of property . . . you get the idea. Such things have happened for 2,000 years, and they will continue until the day Jesus comes back for his Church. Scripture makes that abundantly clear.
While we face such active oppression for our faith, we each encounter more passive forms as well. These are what I call environmental factors, the cultural things we're forced to live with every day as the simple cost of doing business in America in 2016. The content on television is one example, the language, sex, and violence offered as entertainment (and advertising, for that matter). The same with movies, the Internet, that one coworker, the billboard on 29th Street, the latest songs on the radio, the newest bestseller, and everything else we may come into contact with on a daily basis. We're inundated with sinful things we'd rather not encounter, yet we come across them each and every day regardless. It's hard. It grinds on you.
No matter the nature of the grind, Jesus has overcome it. In him we find rest and peace. In Christ we have assurance of Paradise and the strength to reform a lost world. In him, all things will be made new.