Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. —2 Timothy 3:12-15
Don’t miss the sobering words of verse 12, “Indeed all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” Make a note of this: all will go through it—no exemptions. The phrase “desire to live godly” is not your character; it’s your attitude of reverence and respect for God. When God is being talked about, what is your attitude? When you’re living your life, do you live your life as though He is right there with you, watching, seeing, and knowing? Are you actively seeking to please Him? If you desire to live a life of godly reverence, if you display respect for Him, people are going to see that. And they are going to persecute you for wanting to live for God. There is going to be some suffering involved.
Now notice the complete lack of qualification in verse 12. There are two words in 2 Timothy 3:12 that are of special concern to me. First of all, I'm bugged by the word “all.” How about you? There isn’t a lot of squirming room there. All who live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. Which part of all are you struggling with? It’s the realization, “That includes me!”
The second word nails it right to the wall—the word is “will.” All, not some; not in certain parts of the world; not a special few. Will, not may; not might; not could; not should. All who desire to live godly will experience persecution.
You might say, “But I know some people who claim to love God and say they’re following Jesus Christ, but they’re not experiencing suffering. Instead of going through hard times, their life is so sweet. You can’t believe how nice their life is.” You wonder how things could be going so well for them.
Well, notice this second thing. Imposters won’t make it. It might look that way for a little while, but verse 13 says, “Evil people and imposters will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.” Some might talk a good game, but eventually the play will end because God doesn’t play games.
Ultimately each of us must ask, no matter what the circumstances: Do I desire to live a godly life? —James MacDonald
· Do I tend to pay closer attention to the sufferings in my life or to my desire to live for God?
· Why is that?
Prayer: Almighty Father, You have a bigger plan for my life than what makes me comfortable. I realize that Your desires for my best include certain ways and means that I’m not going to enjoy. Help me, Lord, to face these things as doorways and walkways into greater maturity. Kindle in me a growing and glowing desire to live each of my moments for You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.