TUESDAY, JULY 14
“You know how much persecution and suffering I have endured… Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”
2 Timothy 3:11-12 (NLT)
YOUR FAITHFULNESS WILL BE TESTED
The book of 2 Timothy is a letter from an older wise spiritual mentor to a young promising preacher. The Apostle Paul is warning young Timothy about the difficulties that are coming in the last days and the temptations to be unfaithful to God and the gospel. In Paul’s mind it wasn’t a question of “if” but “when” a Christian would be tested. He cautioned that “everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”
In Romans 8:18, we are given some encouragement about the suffering and persecution to come when Paul writes, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”
In the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, a Japanese gymnast, Shun Fujimoto, was competing in the team competition. Somehow, during the floor exercises, he broke his right knee. It was obvious to all reasonable observers that he would be forced to withdraw. On the following day, Fujimoto competed in his strongest event, the rings. His routine was excellent, but the critical point lay ahead – the dismount. Without hesitation, Fujimoto ended with a twisting, triple somersault. There was a moment of intense quiet as he landed with tremendous impact on his wounded knee. Then came the thunderous applause as he stood his ground. Later, reporters asked about that moment and he replied, “The pain shot through me like a knife. It brought tears to my eyes. But now I have a gold medal and the pain is gone.”
The Bible promises that one day the pain will be gone, and we will share in the glory of heaven. That glory will far outweigh any suffering we had to endure while here on earth. The Bible wants us to be ready when our faith is tested and to know that it will be worth it in the end. How has your faithfulness to God been tested lately? What most encourages you from what you read today or what Mike preached on Sunday?