Better to Expect It than Reject It
12 Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus—2 Timothy 3:12-15.
Better to expect what? Take a look at 2 Timothy 3:12. Persecution will come to those who love God. Hard times will fall on those who seek truth. Family and friends will not always understand those who have been forgiven and changed. Those whom I love may reject me for my faith. Why? Because when our hearts are for Jesus and our desire is for godly living, we will encounter opposition. That’s right; those who live for Christ will definitely suffer.
Take careful notice again at the end of the verse. It doesn’t say only your pastor will feel the occasional punch in the stomach of adversity, or that the missionary you read about will regularly have to suck it up for the Gospel. No it says all will get the joyful jab of pain and adversity. Even that guy who had the audacity to sit in “your” seat in church for yet another week—he is on the list too. All of us who love Jesus will get our share. So here are some facts for you to consider as you stare down the barrel of persecution for your faith.
Christians are the most persecuted religious group worldwide as they represent 75 percent of all religious persecution. On average, 100 Christians are killed each month for their faith. Christians are persecuted in 65 counties throughout the world. The top three hot-spots are North Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Afghanistan. Syria and Ethiopia have jumped up the list breaking the top 20.
Maybe you say, I am not experiencing any suffering for my faith. Ok. I say the same thing pretty often myself. But I always ask, Why not? Maybe it is because we live in a country where freedom reigns and we can say what we want to who we want and not get ourselves locked up. Or maybe it’s because we have lost our passion for what we have been entrusted with. Either way, please consider using the freedom we often take for granted to voice our love for God’s Son and our dependence on Him more. Maybe as you pray for those who are being persecuted beyond what you can imagine you could ask God for a window of opportunity with that friend or neighbor who is going through a hard time to say a good word about Jesus. Remember Romans 1:16 says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.”
- When is the last time I shared my faith?
- What prohibits me from sharing my faith more regularly?
Father, thank You for giving me salvation through Your Son, Jesus Christ! Help me not take that for granted. Renew in me a heart overflowing with love for You, so much so my tongue cannot help but declare the work You have done in my life. Help me to pray for my brothers and sisters in Christ who experience persecution on a daily basis. Let me not take my freedom for granted. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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