“...And out of them the Lord delivered me. Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”
-2 Timothy 3:11-12
These verses say it all. If you want the life God has in store for you, it isn’t going to come easily. You will experience hate, oppression, and horrible prejudices. Loved ones will leave you, best friends will turn from you, and you, your own self, will sometimes think that horrible thought: Is it all worth it?
“... looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down on the right hand of the throne of God.”
The comfort this verse gives me is almost overwhelming. Yes, we will experience hate, oppression, and horrible prejudices, but let us not forget that the Son of God did as well. He experienced all of what we do today, and then more. Yet in this verse, we see how He handled those persecutions; He had joy. While men mocked the King of kings with a crown of thorns, while men whipped the innocent, blameless Son of God, and while the Lamb of God was forced to carry His own physical death bed through the streets, He was joyful to go home to the Father. He never cursed God’s Name, He never regretted His work, and for that, He received the throne awaiting Him.
We can, of course, and should always, take this example Jesus has laid out and live it in face of persecution. In a way, our faith and works impact the amount of persecution we receive. The more we show our faith and live His will, the higher we set ourselves on the “podium of ridicule.”
As Paul states so perfectly, all of these persecutions are “light momentary afflictions” (2 Cor. 4:17-18). What a beautiful and profound statement. Beautiful, because of its slap-in-the-face, wake-up call that makes you open your eyes in hectic times. Profound, because if we read this verse after an extreme attack on our faith that really shook us, it may seem ridiculous to believe that these attacks may be “light” and “momentary”. But, allow me to explain one of the keywords in these verses; momentary. All of your hardships will only be momentary if we apply that mindset of 2 Timothy 3:11-12. If we don’t refresh ourselves in a situation of God’s faithfulness and love, then we will live in that state of mind that the Lord will not help us; and the Lord does not deliver those who do not trust in Him.
If you are living a godly, faithful life, persecution is bound to come your way. It is how we deal with that persecution and who we put our trust in that determines the outcome and how it will impact us. I hope and pray all of you are confident in who you have been trusting in the face of persecution: God, or yourself? Thank you for your time, and have a blessed week.