"Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution" (II Tim. 3:12).
Paul clearly declared that all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. It didn't even say that you have accomplished living godly. All it really says that you desire to live godly. Also, it declares that all that have that heart's desire to live godly will not be exempt from persecution, but should expect it. Jesus called out Paul (then Saul) on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:3-6), and sent him in a blinded condition to await the next instructions. Jesus called and sent Ananias to lay hands on Saul. Jesus word to Ananias about Saul was that he was a chosen vessel to bear His name to many (Acts. 9:15) In Jesus' word for Paul He said, "For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name's sake" (Acts 9:16). I make no apology. Jesus did not promise Paul a rose garden. Jesus clearly informed Paul through Ananias that he would suffer persecution for His name's sake.
As it turns out, suffering persecution can be an important tool used by the Father to train His sons. However, we need to understand its divine purpose. It is declared of Jesus, "though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered" (Hebr. 5:8). This wasn't obedience to the law, but obedience to the Father. When Jesus was tempted by the devil with the lust of the flesh when suffering hunger after his 40 day fast, He remained obedient to the word of the Father (Matt. 4:2-4). Jesus suffered the loss of the pride of life and lust of the eyes and remained obedient to the Father. The words He spoke and the deeds that He did were in love obedience to the Father (John 14:10). Jesus ultimately suffered persecution to trial and His sacrificial death on the cross, to become the author of eternal salvation (Hebr. 5:9).
Our Father allows us as Christians to be led as sheep for the slaughter (Rom. 8:36). Why? Our Father is working all things, including suffering persecution, to work together for good and to conform us to the image of His Son (Rom. 8:28-29). The Father has left us in this world schoolhouse, to learn of His Son and to have the highest love fellowship with Him. Paul with an in-depth Spirit revelation of Christ in him, cried out to know Christ more in the fellowship of His sufferings (Phil. 3:10). Paul who suffered much persecution could express that he was persecuted but not forsaken, struck down but not struck out (II Cor. 4:9). Paul let suffering persecution help him know Christ in him as him to be expressed in a greater and more victorious way of life! Truly, God brings His victory out of our suffering!V
Written by Dwight Davis
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