(11)“Persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. (12) In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,(13) while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. (14) But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, (15) and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. (16) All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, (17) so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Recently, I have read some commentaries/blogs preaching that a true Christian is a persecuted Christian. They often say, “We must always feel persecuted as Christians, if we do not, we are not truly in Christ and we serve another Jesus” then I usually see verse 12 of II Timothy 3 used somewhere in their context along with the second scripture I noted Matthew 5:3. Now, Matthew 5:3, “Blessed are the poor in spirit…” is mainly perceived in three different ways. Some perceive it as saying that Christians should not be financially rich, where they get that meaning in this verse is hard to say, but others, which I am referring to in this post, perceive it as feeling persecuted (poor) in the spirit for Christ. The third meaning, which I believe is what this verse is truly saying is that we as Christians should be poor or weak in our own human spirit or to say that as Christians we need to have a humble spirit and recognize that we can not just rely on ourselves in this life, but we need to seek God’s help in our lives in all situations to guide us.
Now concerning II Timothy 3, Paul noted in verse 12 that if we choose a Godly life for Christ we “will be persecuted,” not that we should feel persecuted. Yes, persecution will happen when we chose a life for Christ, though I believe, the persecution experience will happen on different levels. Some Christians will barely scratch the surface of persecution or just experience verbal persecution, and unfortunately others will experience horrific persecution, but no matter the level of persecution in which one will experience does not make us any less or any more a Christian. Also, note that Paul said in the previous verse (11) that The Lord rescued him from his persecution, not that he is still enduring it. My question to those who believe a true Christian is a persecuted one, especially, those who live in America--What is the extent of your persecution in the “Land of the Free and The Home of the Brave.” We live in America, for goodness sake, how can any Christian living in America even perceive persecution. What--did somebody call you a name, taunt you, or say, “God is not real?” Big deal is that persecution--not even at its least. True persecution to me is being thrown in prison for our faith, beaten/tortured for our faith, and dying for our faith in Jesus, read the book of Acts--the first century Christians were facing this everyday: Is that going on in America? I haven’t seen that lately in news. What do we know of persecution in America than just mere words? Remember the saying, "sticks and stone may break my bones, but names will never hurt me," I think this can apply here. I know and I pray for Christians in other countries that are being imprisoned, beaten, and even dying for their faith in Jesus Christ. It is sad and horrible, the ultimate test of faith, but Christ in them keeps them strong, upholds their hope that in Him this life is just a mere vapor compared to eternal life with Him. Now, they are experiencing what a lot of us will never experience-- so please place it in your heart to always pray for them.
Is it so hard to thank God everyday for living in America?--I do. What a great and glorious feeling it is being able to worship and believe in our Lord without any true persecution that other believers experience. I have always believed that God from the beginning has blessed America for recognizing the importance of His principles, though currently, American is turning its back on those principles and turning to Godless principles such as greed and self-satisfaction. My pledge to you dear Christian of “persecution” in America and to all Christians not only in America, but other Christians in other countries living free to practice our faith. Make it a point to praise and give thanks to our Lord Jesus Christ for blessing us to be able to walk in a Christian book store or any other store to buy a Bible, feel blessed that you can wake up on your day of worship without any consequence of imprisonment, and feel blessed that we can walk in faith without true persecution. Please if you are not already to always pray for our brothers and sisters that do not have our same freedoms and pray that we all will keep strong in our faith, love and hope in Jesus Christ. So, that when the day comes that we might experience true trials and tribulations for Jesus, the Spirit of the Lord within us will help guide and protect us. Being in Jesus brings joy, whether there is persecution or not.
I Thessalonians 5:16-18
"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
“When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, a man cannot discover anything about his future.”