It has been a while since I have written on my blog. I had not realized how long (almost 2 months), until a few people who recently read a few posts commented on them, causing me to go back and read them myself. I have wondered why I have not posted. Did the newness wear off? Did the excitement of writing and sharing get replaced with the reality of the demands of life? I don’t know. But I would like to get back at it. I so enjoy writing.
This morning I had an interesting experience. As I sat downstairs reading my Bible, I came across a passage that I could not simply pass over. I read it and paused. I reread it. I tried to move on, but I was haunted by this passage. Here it is:
Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
2 Timothy 3:12
The words in this passage are clear. There is nothing I had to look up or seek deeper knowledge on what it could mean. It states very simply that if a Christian desires a godly life in Jesus (which by what I read of Scripture, we all ought to), then we will suffer persecution. Now, given that Paul was writing this letter to a very specific audience, it could be easy to dismiss what he is saying. Christians in the time these letters were written had been persecuted mercilessly. Paul continually sought to encourage his fellow believers to press on in the faith. So, in many ways, this was just another reminder to these believers that they will indeed experience persecution. I can hear Paul now… “yep… you can expect it. Don’t be surprised by it one bit.”
That brings me to modern day Christianity. In particular, to American Christianity. I believe we are living in an amazing time of peace and prosperity in the United States. I will be the first to admit that I was born into a privileged life, one that by comparison to much of the rest of the world, would have the appearances of royalty. And I will also admit that I don’t experience persecution. I just don’t. And I think that is why this verse haunted me. If everyone who wants to live a godly life in Jesus will suffer persecution, why don’t I? So, I prayed, re-read the passage, prayed some more. Then I read more of 2 Timothy 3, and I finally landed on the following conclusions:
God speaks to me through the “haunting verses”
I had a sense as I was sitting there reading that verse that God was “fathering me”, wanting to teach me something profound. I really felt like I was on holy ground. Honestly, this does not happen very often in my life.
Rejection = Persecution
I am often afraid to share Jesus Christ with other people, or to live my life boldly, and a big reason why is I do not want to be rejected. And for me, this is an experience of persecution. I often crave affirmation from people, and to have someone reject the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ for something the world has to offer is really difficult for me to bear.
Putting my hope in Christ above affirmation of others IS one way I can live a godly life
I may not be the next Billy Graham, and that is OK. God uniquely made me to fulfill a purpose in this life. One of the barriers for me doing this is seeking the approval of others. So, to reject this and turn to Christ as my greatest hope is one way I can “live a godly life in Jesus”.
If I am not experiencing persecution, this may be an indication that I am desiring something more than Jesus himself
Jesus-seeking Christians will experience persecution. What form that takes for each person, I don’t know. I do know that I am called to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit leading me to see where I might be denying Jesus in my everyday life.
I’ll probably re-read 2 Timothy 3 again tomorrow morning. I loved the sense that I was near God this morning. And I will pray that God would continue to “haunt me” through his teaching and leading my by His Word. And finally, I will “seek first the kingdom of God” by starting my day in prayer, meditation, and reflection on His Word tomorrow morning… before news, Facebook, e-mail, and even family demands. I will place my hope in Christ, the anchor for my soul.