You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me. Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 2 Timothy 3:10-13
Today’s verses are pretty sobering. Every person who desires to live a godly life in Jesus Christ WILL BE PERSECUTED. Not may be persecuted. Not probably be persecuted. They will be persecuted. That is bad enough but did you catch the gotcha? Paul did not say those that actually live a godly life will be persecuted, no he said that everyone who desires to live a godly life in Jesus will be persecuted. Once we make a commitment to Christ the die is set. We are his and the enemy will do everything in his power to make us ineffectual. Even though we are a long way from leading a godly life we will still see persecution.
Now here in the USA we are very lucky. Rarely will any of us be asked to pay for our beliefs with our lives or even face physical harm. The worst most will have happen to them is ridicule and hate speech. We will be called irrational and anti intellectual. Some may think us old fashion and even quaint. Other will see us as dangerous and intolerant. We have seen our rights eroded although there seems to be some push back from the current Supreme Court. But for the most part only our feelings not our bodies will be hurt.
This is not so in most of the rest of the world. In great Briton and Canada people can be imprisoned for hate speech. In many Muslim countries Christians are beaten and killed. In India Hindus kill Muslims and Muslims kill Hindus and both kill Christians. China still sends Christians to prison and torture. Christians in most of the world face the same type of persecutions that the early church faced. They still are killed for their faith. The amazing thing is that they are willing to die for their faith when if they recanted they could live.
I am amazed how many people teach that as Christians we should expect prosperity, health and wealth. How all we need to do is ask and all will be granted to us. It is not that Christians cannot he wealthy or healthy or cured or even win the lottery all these things can happen but they are not promised us. What we are promised is that we will be persecuted. Jesus told us to take up our crosses and follow Him. Not grab us checkbook but our cross. Just as He was persecuted, beaten and killed so we should expect nothing less. Fortunately for most of us we will never face death for our faith. But we should expect to suffer for our beliefs.
Christianity is not a religion for wimps. Christ expects much from us. But just as He expects everything from us His reward is equally great, eternal life with Him.
Have a blessed day,