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Godly Living = Persecution?

In category:

A Burned-Out House

We tend to think that someone who lives a moral and righteous life will have less trouble and problems than those who ignore or actively oppose God’s standards. We also tend to think that those who are going through trouble are being punished by God or are under God’s curse. In some cases we may be correct to think this way.

On the other hand, we all know of wicked people who are prosperous and seem to have no troubles at all. And uprightness is no guarantee of a trouble-free life. We have seen righteous and godly people who are forced to endure all kinds of trouble and affliction. The Holy Scriptures go far as to say, “ In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,” (2 Timothy 3:12 NIV)

By definition, true followers of Christ want to live godly lives. Why, then, will they be persecuted? Isn’t this backwards? Shouldn’t they be applauded for doing what is right and good? The unfortunate fact is that godliness is perceived as a threat by those who have chosen a different way of living. Why? Because godliness shows evil for what it is. If you live a godly life, your very existence condemns those who do not. Jesus said, “Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.” (John 3:20 NIV)

So, if you are suffering because you are trying to do what is right and good, do not lose heart! Do not become discouraged! It does not mean that God is punishing you. On the contrary, you are God’s witness to the world that its ways are evil. You are a reminder to others of how short they fall in comparison to God’s expectations. Your life reminds them of God’s judgment which they will have to face one day.

On the other hand, even though we may have to suffer now, we have the promise of Scripture that God will reward us if we persist in striving for godliness. The Apostle Paul wrote, “...he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6 NIV) He said in another place, “God “will give to each person according to what he has done.” To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.” (Romans 2:6-7 NIV)

Let’s continue to live godly lives in Christ Jesus even though it exposes us to persecution. The end result is certainly worth enduring it!