All that will live godly
2 Timothy 3 11Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. 12Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
1 Timothy 410For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.
1 Peter 5: 8Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 9Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. 10But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.
It has crept in slowly, this idea of non-suffering, this thought of anti-martyrdom. You can trace this sentiment around the world, you can follow it on the current of Western culture, and see it pervade the fabric of Christian character.
Will you suffer. Not neccessarily. If you don’t live godly, I personally see little reason for the adversary the devil to bother you. Why should he? What threat are you to him? Yet we see a clear statement from Paul to Timothy advising the young pastor that if he will live godly he will indeed suffer.
The question begs itself then, what will you suffer? Some sides of Christianity will say that all you endure in life is this ‘suffering for Jesus.’ Some see every circumstance as a testing from the hand of the Lord. They cry “I am Job!” Others will see a demon on every doorstep, and rebuke the devil when the wind shifts. These say you should resist that devil and he will flee, crying “Get behind me Satan!,” when their feelings get hurt.
Without having a firm grasp on the Word, we will find ourselves unable to submit to the hand of God or resist the enemy. But we must know the difference if we are to be effective as Christians. Why be sober and vigilant if you have no option but to be consumed? Or why resist the hand of God which you are called to be submitted to?
A Soldier will suffer in the field, but the hardships of war, the attack of the enemy, and the correction of a commander are all very different.
The hardship of war is inevitable. Many will die at the hands of the enemy. Our Lord stands and welcomes the martyr. Christianity’s seed has long been the blood of the martyr, and this suffering no Christian should shrink from.
The attack of the enemy is sent to sabatoge the Kingdom Soldiers and render them ineffective. Disease, destruction and slow death are all evils which are to be resisted. In the Army you get innoculations, are issued gas masks, and are attended by physicians because the health of an Army is vital to its ability to accomplish a mission.
The correction of a commander serves to enable his Soldiers to better accomplish a task. It may be stern and momentarily resented, but if a Soldier submits to the correction and changes, he will be better for it. This correction doesn’t detract from battle readiness, but enhances it. This is the unearthing of the diamond and the making of a disciple.
Never surrendor what you should fight for. Never resist what you should accept. And never fear what shouldn’t be feared.
Learn this and become effective. Become a Christian Soldier.