by Mark Clements
Thursday, July 4
We Should Expect Persecution
“But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution,” 2 Timothy 3:10-12.
Paul saw Timothy as his son in the ministry, so he wanted to do his best to prepare him for whatever he would face as a laborer in God’s kingdom. In his second letter to Timothy, Paul reminded him of the perpetual hatred aimed at followers of Christ. Paul had first-hand experiences from which he could write with confidence. He was hated, ridiculed, threatened, beaten and even stoned, because of his faithful ministry in the gospel. Paul could also say with confidence that God rescued him from every persecution he faced. However, his purpose in writing Timothy was not to brag about his suffering, but instead to prepare him to face similar trials.
In 2 Timothy 3:12, Paul makes a universal statement regarding persecution. He did not say that only a select few would suffer, or even that most would be persecuted. Paul, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, wrote that every single person who desires to live out his faith will suffer persecution. The persecution of our faith is a universal guarantee. If our faith does not cost us anything, we might question whether we are genuinely seeking to live godly. But surely every person who expresses his faith in the world will be met with resistance from the enemies of God since light has nothing to do with darkness. Like Timothy, we should be encouraged to shine the light of Jesus, no matter the resistance we might face.
JUST A THOUGHT: Persecution reminds us that we are living by faith.