…everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. (NIV)
It really does not get much more direct than this. If you follow Jesus, you will know the blessings of peace and comfort, strength to accomplish all that God sets before you, and the promise of eternal life with Him. Yet there will be areas and times of your life that will be worse than if you did not follow Him. To this day, people are arrested and murdered, have their homes and property destroyed, and lose their jobs and family members because they follow Jesus. For these people, none of this would have happened had they rejected Him.
It is easy for us who live in the lap of luxury to forget this or to romanticize it away, and make no mistake, if you are have four walls and a roof and food to eat, you are living in luxury compared with much of the world. When I think of what Paul suffered, which led to his advice to Timothy, I am embarrassed at how shallow some of my prayer concerns are.
The verse today should remind us of two things. We must live our lives passionately enough for Christ that it produces suffering for us. This is not to say we should become false martyrs, but if our faith is only a matter of convenience, then is it really the faith of our crucified Lord? Secondly, we must draw attention to, pray for, and assist however we can those brothers and sisters in Christ who live with the more violent persecutions. As Jesus said, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40, NIV)
Father, whether it is the sacrifice of time, money, or friendships, whether it is the loss of respect or even my job, help me to live my life in bold faithfulness to Christ, for indeed there is no other kind. Amen.
Copyright © 2010 by Steven R. Perkins