Godliness and Suffering
“Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” – 2 Tim. 3:12
First, thanks to all who are kind and considerate enough to keep showing me love. I love you, back! And as always, I appreciate you!
I don’t know about you specifically, but just from seeing what goes on in the world every day, it’s evident that we live in tough times. Maybe you are going through something and you think, “I’m so discouraged.”
Or, perhaps you’re stuck in a rut and you decide, ” I can’t live the rest of my life like this,” and you determine to take some control over the outcome of your life. Or, all you want in this life is to live according to God’s will and go to heaven, but the devil keeps throwing obstacles your way.
Or, maybe whatever you’re going through has affected your family, your friendships, and any other possible relationships to your and their detriment, the damage is irreparable, and you don’t know how to end it . Yet still, there are some who are bullied, harassed, violated, and abused constantly with no resolution in sight.
It reminds me of how our Lord was harassed and hated by the angry Jews for no reason (John 15:25). They had nothing good to gain by doing so, yet their constant harassment and abuse led to His death. They were at fault. Jesus suffered. The prophet Isaiah said that He was a man acquainted with suffering (Isa. 53:3). And because He suffered we, too, suffer as Christians (1 Pet. 4:13). There’s comfort in that.
There is definitely a connection between being like Christ and suffering. The Scripture says that “all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Tim. 3:12). Jesus even said that in this world we will have suffering, but that we can take courage and be of good cheer because He has overcome the world (John 16:33). That’s also encouraging.
So, even though striving to live like God wants us to is sure to bring about suffering in one way or another, we’re still to pursue godliness. We’re instructed to live a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence (1 Tim. 2:2). The Bible also tells us to train ourselves in godliness (1 Tim. 4:7)
“But reject profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness. For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.” – 1 Tim. 4:7-8
The verse specifically uses the term exercise when referring to godliness. It’s a workout becoming and being godly. It doesn’t come easily. It takes sweat, pushing yourself, and exerting a great amount of energy to live godly. Nobody said it would be easy. And just like we work out our bodies, we need even more to work out our souls because godliness is profitable for all things (1 Tim. 4:8). And “godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Tim. 6:6).
While we’re working towards godliness and we’re suffering at the same time, if we add contentment to the mix, we can gain a lot in the midst of our trials. I don’t think that means being content with evil that befalls you or evil people, but being content with the Lord and knowing that He’s going to work everything out for your good.
We are to pursue godliness, exercise ourselves unto godliness, and add to our faith godliness (2 Pet. 1:6). And we do it by studying God’s Word.
2 Peter 1:3 says that “His divine power has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue.” We have everything that we need in order to be godly – in the Bible. The more we study His Word, especially when we’re going through troublesome times, the more we become like Christ.
As Christians, we have to have godliness, but we can’t have godliness without suffering something. But may “those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator” (1 Pet. 4:19). “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Rom. 8:18).
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