Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.2 Timothy 3:11b-12
The bottom line of how to stand in times of pressure is right here. Paul knew the secret of the Divine Presence: the Lord was with him, working in all the events of his life. In everything Paul did, Jesus Christ walked with him and was beside him to strengthen and help him.
But even more: Paul not only understood the secret of the Divine Presence, but also that his very trials were part of a designed course. In fact, he says,
Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.
That very remarkable statement is saying that true Christianity is always a countercultural movement; it is always against the grain. You will not always be popular when you stand and speak as a Christian. Sometimes you will; sometimes your words will be welcomed and reckoned as cold water on a hot day. On other occasions, what you say will be sneered at, ridiculed, and laughed at; you will be put down and rejected. All that is part of being a Christian.
There is a phony
folk Christianity around today that will enable you to apparently escape all these persecutions. In every church there are people who are trying to put on a Christian front. They act like Christians, read the
Book, and sing the hymns, but they have no reality of Christ in their lives. That kind of Christianity does escape a lot of persecution because it never stands for anything.
That kind of Christianity is worthless. It does nothing to stem the tide of corruption and disaster toward which the human race is headed. As this age draws to a close, evil will increase, the apostle says. Men and women who believe their own lies will speak with intense conviction so that many will follow in their evil ways, victims of the great deceiver, the god of this world, the devil. But if you want to stand against the stream, if you want to make your life count in these days, then do what Paul did.
Teach the truth; spread it around. Let people know what is right and real about life from the Bible that you hold in your hand. Live righteously; practice what you preach. Expect trouble because you will get it. There will be times when what you say will be very unpopular, but that does not stop you from saying it and living it. Above all else, walk with the Lord. Love the Lord Jesus. Live in His presence. Draw closer each day to that Divine Lord who walks invisibly in our midst, who is in charge of all the events of earth, controlling them and working them out to His one great purpose, which He shall bring to pass.
God knows that things are going to get worse and worse—He intended them to—but He has planted within that decaying, corrupting, morally imperfect civilization men and women like you and me who are given the privilege of standing for truth and righteousness in a day of declension. May God grant that we will be such people.
Grant to me, Lord, the courage and grace to stand, impelled by this Divine Presence within, that I might bea workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth(2 Timothy 2:15).
Christians experience persecution for their faith. Others escape it by putting on a phony Christian front. Are we seeking guidance from the written and Living Word?