- The world hated Jesus, so it follows that it will also hate us, His followers.
If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. -John 15:18
Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. -2 Timothy 3:12
There will always be ‘hardships’ wherever we go. For example, when we commit to a new job, we accept that it will be a little rough for the first week or two, because it takes time to learn the names of your coworkers, the skills for every task, and the vision needed to benefit the company who pays you. As the weeks pass and the newness wears off, the everyday tasks will become humdrum and less meaningful than they were at the beginning. And then when you’re a few years in, the will to keep slugging through will disappear, and it’s all you can do to drag your feet to work. You’d rather be anywhere else than there! But at the end of the year, when you look back and see the fruits of your labour and you receive recognition from your employer, you overflow with gratefulness that you stayed faithful to your job and gave it your best effort!
Why don’t we apply that same level of commitment to our love life in God?
Long before His own crucifixion, Jesus predicted that the hard times that would come upon His disciples and all who would spread the Gospel. And long before it would be our turn to suffer, He meekly bore the instrument of His own death, taking mocking and all manner of injustices for our sakes!
- We are in the last days.
But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name’s sake. –Luke 21:12
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. -2 Timothy 3:1-5
And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration. –Revelation 17:6
Jesus, Paul, and John each had a vision about how persecution would be heavy in the last days. They all warned us about it, and told us how to get ready. We can’t say, We didn’t know! If Scripture predicted it, we know it’s a definite reality! We should be preparing for it as a certain event.
- A sign of light among darkness, good among evil, right among wrong.
But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin. He that hateth me hath my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause. –John 15:21-25
Where there is good, there will always be opposition. Can there be light without shadows? People do not like to be proven wrong and shown their faults. When we come along, living our lives in faithful obedience to an unseen God Who shows up in our lives with real, tangible, daily blessings, that smacks in the faces of those who are trying to do it all by themselves. When we stand up to them for some preposterous, absurd, inner, obscure belief, I believe they see something they wish they had. When we would rather give up our lives than submit to an evil practice, it is a sign of open rebellion against their carefully constructed rules and systems.
But Jesus did not leave us with only a warning!
Coming soon will be a response to persecution.