Jesse Weeks gives us a great devotional though to start our Tuesday!
As I’ve expressed before, I get excited when I see red letters in my scripture reading because I know these words came directly from my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. They actually passed through His precious lips for me to hear. I know He intended them for me as well as the people He was speaking to in that day. He told me in Mark 13:9-13 that I should expect and prepare to be persecuted for knowing Him and sharing His gospel, but my reward will be much greater than the trials and tribulations that I might have to endure. We are so lucky to live in a country where we are not violently persecuted for sharing our beliefs. Praise the Lord that we don’t face torture and death as we see our fellow Christians enduring around the world, but we are nonetheless persecuted and punished if ever so much more subtly.
It’s been happening for decades. First it was the banning of prayer in schools in 1962. More recently Christians have lost their businesses because they refused to perform a service or prepare a product for a gay marriage which is a right of conscience for the Christian. Christians are consistently and constantly targeted for their belief and especially if they overtly share that belief. We read daily of Christians that were refused jobs because of completing a job application honestly, and those that were fired because they shared their faith in casual conversation at work. We probably all have personal contacts or experiences that we could share that exemplify the persecution.
Jesus warned us that we would be hated and persecuted, “But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” (Mark 13:13b) I pray that you, me and all Christians can endure the persecutions and remain true to our faith. A tested faith is a stronger faith for the test!
He calls for our obedience in faithfulness and living the gospel. Living the gospel includes sharing the gospel. I’m reminded of Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 9:12-13, “This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else.”
“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21