|Persecution Is Normal
2 Timothy 3:12
“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution,” 2 Timothy 3:12.
A promise that Christians can count on is this, “Live godly . . . suffer persecution” (verse 12). This promise makes one wonder, where’s the incentive to be good? The Christian, working hard to be good, changes Christianity into just another religion. On the other hand, if we are surrendering our body to God as a tool with which He can do good works, then, it is Christ’s righteousness, God working out through us. That makes Christianity a lifestyle which Satan and his advocates disdain (Matt. 5: 10-12).
People living godly are lights that expose those who are walking in darkness and causes them great discomfort. “Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness” (1 Thess. 5:5). Normal means “a common event that usually occurs.” Persecution is normal for the Christian. Peter taught that, if we do well and are persecuted for it, great is our reward.
I once heard David Ring, an evangelist who has muscular sclerosis. It was difficult to understand his speech as he told of the many accomplishments with which God had blessed him. Someone told him he was not normal. He replied, “Normal! What’s normal! I’ve got muscular sclerosis, and I did all these wonderful things. What’s your problem!” Christianity is like a hard working Helen Keller amidst a group of judgmental finger-pointers.
I’ve got muscular sclerosis! What’s your problem? I’m a Christian doing the best I can, and God has blessed me. What’s your problem?—David Ring
Tag Archives: suffer
John 12:27, 28
“Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour,” John 12:27.
For a moment, a split second, the humanness of Jesus was troubled. He knew the shame and agony that lay before Him. He, in His infinite wisdom, knew the answer to His own question, “But for this cause came I unto this hour.” His question, “What shall I say?” (verse 27) did not mean that Jesus was doubting the plan and purpose of His death, and certainly not that He was trying to back out. It only proved that He agreed with His Father’s plan.
We as believers are often brought to a crisis of belief—our will versus God’s will. In our imaginations, we conjure up all sorts of buts and what ifs that pull us away from the will of God. This is observed in all walks of life and in the Lord’s churches. God calls young men into the ministry, but the temporary hardships of a seminary education seem like a mountain instead of a hill; and they allow the stress of employment to suppress the will of God. Instead, let us be brave, go forward and follow the will of God by saying, “What shall we say but, yes, after all the sacrifice that Jesus made for us.”
REFLECTION – When God calls you, what will you say?
1 Peter 4:12-16
“Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf,” 1 Peter 4:16.
Last summer, I was driving my car back from a city reach mission trip to Canada, when in the heat of the day, my air conditioner stopped working. Sometimes I like surprises, but this was not a surprise I enjoyed. We rode the rest of the way home in one hundred degree weather with no A/C. A few days later, we discovered that a coolant hose had been punctured because it was rubbing against the frame of the car. When we discovered that, it was obvious why the A/C had stopped working, and we fixed it.
When it comes to living by faith, many Christians are like me on the mission trip. We expect everything to go problem free with little to no discomfort. Unfortunately, that is the opposite of what God tells us to expect. In reality, a person living by faith in Jesus Christ is an anomaly among the people of the world, and whenever our faith collides with the culture, there is friction and tension. In the text, Peter told us that, not only should we not be surprised when we suffer because of our faith, but we should anticipate suffering with rejoicing. If we endure negative circumstances because of our faith, that is a sign to us that our faith is real and we are walking in obedience, therefore we should glorify God, gladly wearing the name Christian.
JUST A THOUGHT
Will you rejoice in God in good times and bad today?