Bible Reference: 2 Timothy 3:12
Translation: New Living Translation (NLT)
Bible Text: Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
APPLICATION: On reading the subject of this devotional, one may have thought that our study might give reasons to worship today, because surely we could rejoicing over the joys of living a godly life! Yes, there is much to rejoice in as we, Christians, think about our eternal home in glory with our Master. However, what Paul is warning about in this short verse, is what we might expect to see while we remain here on earth. Of course you might respond that of course, we spread the joy of the Lord with everyone, and we worship and adore our Savior at every opportunity. As true as that may be friend, notice carefully the verbiage used by Paul, for he said that for us to live a ‘GODLY’ life, we should expect persecution. Living a ‘godly’ life means that you are not just going to obey the commands of God, but you have committed to study His Word carefully and then live your life patterned after Jesus. It means that your life will be so different to that of the general public, that they might look at you like you are really ‘strange’! Think about this friends, Jesus was not a ‘yes man’ to all that the Pharisees expected of Him, for He showed them the true meaning of unconditional love; of unselfish leadership; of placing others before themselves; of standing up for God in every aspect of life, even in our careers; and of changing certain rituals because they may not be aligned with the image or expectation of Jesus Christ. In short, Jesus upset the ‘apple cart’ every time He recognized wrong or ungodly living, regardless of who was caught in the crossfire. Let’s look at this from our current scenario. In almost every conversation with Christians, we recognize that we have mellowed a lot from the ways of our ancestors, because we have calculated that their ways were just too strict, or too literal, regarding Biblical teachings. We allow things in our churches now that were unheard of in the early church. When last have you heard of a summit where church leaders would humble themselves before God and surrender totally to His will for the churches they are leading? How long would church leaders be permitted to stay in their roles, if they returned from a conference and started making changes, because they felt God was wanting them to help steer His church back to Him? Are we ready to challenge our work bosses because we see the need to stand up for what we discern to be ungodly principles and/or practices? I don’t believe we will find anywhere in the Bible that Jesus caved in to the practices of the day because He was being too literal with the commands of His Father. If we have committed ourselves to live just like Jesus, should we cave in to worldly practices and demands? How will we explain that to God on Judgment Day? Although it is very easy to look at the general public and see the wrongs, and softening effects of the Gospel, I want to encourage each reader to look deeply inside of self, and examine yourself in light of the Gospel that you claim to be your guide. Allow God to speak into your life, will you?
PRAYER: Dear God, You have placed Your perfect Son before us so that we might have the pattern for life that would be pleasing to You. Yet, much like the Pharisees, we have designed our own pattern of living. Unfortunately not all aspects of our design meets the standards that were demonstrated by Jesus. Father, we want our lives and our churches to be aligned with You, yet we tend to place our own little spin to the truth You have taught us. Please forgive us for doubting; for changing Your ways to conform with the ways of this world; and for assuming Your role, when we should really be seeking Your face and Your will. To win the world for Jesus Christ, I feel like we should first be willing to demonstrate before them a sincere ‘godly’ life so that they can clearly see what they are committing to. Lord Jesus, please have Your will and Your way in the lives of Christians today, beginning with me. Please work miraculously in our churches so that we may truly be the cornerstone of Your worldwide mission to reach the lost while we wait for Your Big Day when You will come to take us home with You. I ask these things in the name of Jesus, AMEN!