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Persecution: the promise nobody wants

“In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted…” 2 Timothy 3:12 Why is this? Is God sadistic? Of course we want to answer “no.” But if you’ve ever known somene who was thrown in prison for his faith or suffered real pain, the answers may not come so easi…
By Seth Barnes

“In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted…” 2 Timothy 3:12

stoningWhy is this? Is God sadistic? Of course we want to answer “no.” But if you’ve ever known somene who was thrown in prison for his faith or suffered real pain, the answers may not come so easily for them. Jesus said to John the Baptist, “Blessed is the man who doesn’t fall away on account of me.” I think he was speaking to John himself. John never got to see Jesus coming in his glory; he saw the executioner coming instead.

At the end of the day, there is this spiritual principle: persecution leads to suffering and suffering forces dependence on God. This practice of depending on God is what He wants and what we need. Life independent of him is bankrupt.

By allowing other people to attack our faith, God is applying pressure to it. Faith becomes stronger under pressure.

Matthew 10 describes in detail what that persecution will look like. We’ll be flogged, betrayed, hated, and put to death. When we’re persecuted, we’re told to flee.

Of course, all this did happen to that generation, but it looks so unlike our own times. What do we know of such testing? Are we afraid of pressure, knowing what it will show?

Chinese Christians attribute their growth to the persecution they’ve endured. They pray that we American Christians will know such blessing. I have a hard time joining them in their prayers. “God, bring greater persecution to me and my household that your kingdom might advance,” is not a prayer we frequently pray. But maybe we should.

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