Suffering Persecution

2 Timothy 3:12-14
Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.  But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.  But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;

It wasn’t going to be easy, and Paul would not sugarcoat reality when writing to Timothy.  He wanted him to follow after righteousness.  He wanted him to continue in the faith and be a minister for Jesus Christ.  He wanted Timothy to follow in his footsteps and be a leader in the church.  But Paul was honest.  Persecution would come his way for that choice.  He may have to face the same things Paul endured—prison and death for Jesus’ sake.

Paul warns Timothy that the world around him would continue its decline into evil and deception.  That wasn’t going to go away.  That is a factor that the church will always have to deal with.  But we can continue on knowing what is true and doing what is right, because it will be worth it to endure those things for Jesus’ sake.  Paul was faithful to the end.  He took everything Satan could throw at him, and he just kept serving the Lord, preaching the truth, loving and serving others, and giving his all for the cause of Christ, and he encourages Timothy—and us—to do the same.

There is not always a benefit for doing the right thing, and if we seek only some reward in exchange for doing right, we will often be left disappointed.  The world who hated Christ hates the Christ in us.  Those who despise God despise God in us.  As a result, that hate that persecuted Christ will persecute us.  But that doesn’t have to discourage us.  Let’s count it a privilege, like the disciples in the early church, to be persecuted for His sake because it means we’re taking a stand for Him, that Christ is visible in us, that the godly lives we are leading are having an impact.

When we are living in Christ, we are partakers of both His joys and His sorrows.  That persecution that will come is no surprise, and we do not need to be fearful of the unknown trials we will face.  The cause of that persecution is worth it—living godly in Christ Jesus.  There is no safer or better place to be.  And ultimately it is Jesus who we seek to please.  Our souls are secure, and our future in eternity is set.  So may we be willing to stay the course, stick to the truth, and patiently endure until all is made right.

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