Posted by: bellissimanh | October 12, 2007

Godliness and Persecution (Blackaby)

“Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” (2 Timothy 3:12)

Living a godly life will not insulate you from hardship. Paul said that the more blameless your life, the more likely you will be persecuted. According to Paul, “evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse”_(2 Tim. 3:13). As the world increasingly embraces sin, worldly people are becoming increasingly intolerant of godliness. Darkness cannot tolerate light; the more your life illuminates the presence of Christ, the more you should expect opposition from the forces of darkness. Your Christlike nature will be offensive to those in rebellion against Christ’s Lordship.

You may have recently repented of your sin and taken a new step of obedience to God. Perhaps you expected to experience God’s blessing immediately as He demonstrated His approval of your obedience. Instead, you were met with opposition. The persecution may have come even from other Christians who misunderstood your motives. Perhaps you obeyed God, and still your actions were met with criticism instead of praise.

If you are sincerely following the Lord’s direction, don’t be discouraged. Paul warned that those who seek to live godly lives will suffer persecution. Do not be surprised when this happens to you. If the world crucified the Son of God, surely the world will be hostile to anyone who lives by the power of the Holy Spirit. Persecution may be the best evidence that your life is like that of Christ. Jesus warned that the world hated Him, the Savior, and so it would certainly misunderstand and mistreat His disciples (John 15:18).

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Wow. Amen.

This is the line that got me… “Your Christlike nature will be offensive to those in rebellion against Christ’s Lordship.” I never really thought of it this way. I’ve always known that we would be peresecuted because He was persecuted… the old familiar principle… but I’ve never thought of it in these terms before. The more I become like Christ, the more those who are walking in disobedience to Him will come after me… because godly behavior sheds light on their own rebellion against Christ’s Lordship. It’s not just that Satan is the accuser of the brethren (although he is), but Jesus in me makes those who are not living as He leads uncomfortable… it offends them. The next time you feel the sting of persecution, rather than letting it get you down, be encouraged! It could very well be that someone who is in rebellion to the Lordship of Jesus is offended… because you are becoming more and more like Him! That’s a GREAT thing! To quote Holly, it’s a wonderful thing when people can say: “Jesus looks so great on you!”

Father God, thank You for sending the Light of the world, that we who once walked in darkness could be drawn into your glorious light! You shine so brightly, and I want to be a reflection of Your light… of Your love. Thank You for working in my heart, for speaking to me through Your Word, and for transforming me by its power. I pray that as I feast on Your Word, You will continue to use it to reveal things in me that need to change… to bring me to the point of repentance again and again… to focus on You alone, rather than the circumstances and persecution around me. It’s been a tough week, Lord… but You are faithful. I know this to be true. As we sing over and over… “no scheme of man… can ever pluck me from Your hand.” I am secure in You, Lord. I am overwhelmed this morning by the thought that You could live so powerfully through me that someone walking in disobedience might be offended. My prayer this morning, Lord, is that they would see the Light and be drawn to You. I am so far from being holy, Lord. Some days my thoughts and attitudes, not to mention my actions, fall so short of Your standards. Forgive me for disappointing You, Lord. Set a guard over my mouth, that I might speak only things that will honor You. The prayer of my life is that I might live out Your Truth, and be a woman after Your own heart… that I might glorify You in all things. I love You so much, Lord. I am in awe of You. Please use me… this broken vessel. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit that I might be a vehicle for Your Son’s nature… let them be offended, Lord… so long as it is You in me that offends them. I want to shine for You. Take this diamond in the rough and polish it until Your reflection can be seen in it. You are worthy of nothing less. Amen.

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Responses

  1. What a beautiful post. I can hear your passion for God in this. You are beautiful too!

    Blessings,
    Sue

  2. WHAT an encouragement today… to think in terms of being offensive for desiring to live holy. So the desire of our heart, when placed on Christ, stirs to anger those who have an opposing desire. WOW.
    I SO appreciate your posts and your desire for HIM!!!!

  3. Heather!!! Seriously. This is EXACTLY what we talked about at Bible study yesterday morning and it’s been so heavy on my mind ever since then. I absolutely adore your prayer — and I actually printed it out so that I can meditate on it and pray it myself whenever I get to “that point”. Thank you, my friend. What a blessing you are.

  4. Your thoughts and Christlike attitude are such an inspiration to me.

  5. Amen! “Darkness cannot tolerate light; the more your life illuminates the presence of Christ, the more you should expect opposition from the forces of darkness.” That stuck out to me so much… I hadn’t thought of it that way. I always pray with my children that we would be lights for Him in this dark world, but this is a new twist on it. We will not be accepted. And thank God!!! The world can only accept its own. I want to be accepted of God and His dear Son; that is what will be worth it all! Thanks for the encouragement:)

  6. I think it would probably be good for me to have the sting of persecution from time to time… I actually feel conviction by the fact that I don’t. And even if I did, lets face it, a “stinging” persecution isn’t to be even compared with what our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world are facing. If I were facing that, I think a lot of my self-centeredness would fade away pretty quickly! 😉

    Either way, I’ll confess to you that I think about myself too much… it’s either “I’m not what I ought to be, therefore, I’m not being persecuted.” or, it’s “Why doesn’t she like me?” I’m laughing at myself, but it’s true! In both examples, you can see how Satan ever so subtly tempts me to think about… ME.

    A wise woman once told me (regarding ministry), “I have been thinking about what we discussed last week, and I think I have a message for you. Just rest. When God has something for you to do, He’ll find you. Don’t worry.” Ah. Permission granted.
    Sigh of relief. 🙂

    I’ve thought about that alot, and there is wisdom in it. When I look back at all the hurry and scurry, the worry and flurry, the nail-biting and hand-wringing I used to do over similar issues, I’m so grateful to have learned this lesson early. God is sovereign. Here I am, and I have my duties, ordered by God. I am obligated to do them well, and when/if He has new orders for me at some point, I’m sure He’ll let me know, as He always has, in varieties of ways. You’re right, it’s all valuable, no matter how insignificant it seems. That, too, brings rest. Not rest like “I’m never tired,” but rest as in spiritual peace and refreshment. As Jesus put it so well, HIS yoke is easy and HIS burden is light.

    You’re such a brave soul to post your responses to your lessons! I love transparency (can you tell?!) … thanks for sharing.

  7. I’ve been looking at the Beatitudes in Matthew 5 and it is no mistake that Blessed are those who are persecuted follows, merciful, pure in heart and peacemaker. You understand the point that Jesus was making. If we live godly lives our godliness causes the ungodly to experience condemnation. This is the condemnation that they will experience for an eternity if they do not turn from their sin. Rather than turn, many retaliate and turn on what they perceive to be the source of condemnation…other Christians. But really they are rebelling against and attacking God Himself.

    This finally began to make sense to me this time around in Matthew and now I see it repeated here so eloquently on your blog. God must be driving this point home!

    Kate

  8. The center of the discussion here is justice, because if justice is present with its norms it will secure the Godly from the hand and the powers of the ungodly. yet people cannot acheive justice because the majority does not want it, Justice in that case does not serve their desires and thus the Godly is persecuted in the minority ruled by the injustices of the majority.
    where is the catch?
    God does not intervene by his power to apply justice for his minority who are in the world until sin and injustices reaches its limit and time frame according to his patience, and then he intervenes and all the kingdoms and the nations of the world must serve and obey him Dan 7:27

  9. The center of the discussion here is justice, because if justice is present with its norms it will secure the Godly from the hand and the powers of the ungodly. yet people cannot acheive justice because the majority does not want it, Justice in that case does not serve their desires and thus the Godly is persecuted in the minority ruled by the injustices of the majority.
    where is the catch?
    God does not intervene by his power to apply justice for his minority who are in the world until sin and injustices reaches its limit and its time frame which is determined ofcourse according to his patience, and then he intervenes and all the kingdoms and the nations of the world must serve and obey him Dan 7:27

  10. I, thank you for sheading the light for me. I notice that the more I live for Christ the worst it has gotton on my job , I ask God to handle it. and old lady told me when you pray for something to happen ,God make work in another way. he might be saying it’s time for you to move on. please pray that I get it right.

  11. A truly beautiful Christ honouring site.

    God bless


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