Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.
– 2 Timothy 3:12 (Paul writing)
Yesterday we reflected on sin being the cause of all the woes in the world. Sin is, of course, the cause of the biggest woe of all: death. As Paul wrote:
Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned–
– Romans 5:12
Through Adam, sin entered the world…and it has not left. It’s an infection that permanently afflicts the world – manifesting itself at some times and in some places more than others.
We thought about how our own problems ensue either from sins we ourselves commit or from sins committed by others. These sins of others could be someone else in our own family who’s being selfish…or a mad dictator with nuclear weapons on the other side of the world. The world is a very complex place and we humans don’t have brains big enough to understand the ramifications of every sin. Therefore, someone will always ask, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” A more appropriate question might be, “In a world of so much sin, how come there aren’t more bad things happening?” In either case, it’s often a question God doesn’t answer for us on this side of death.
Since we can’t always trace every problem back to the sin that seeded it, we’re better off just trying to reduce sin. However, listen to what Paul is saying to his helper Timothy above: when someone wants to live right, it actually will lead to more sin!
Jesus led a perfect life and think of all the sin it provoked in His crucifixion. The apostles likewise, because they imitated Jesus, brought much evil on their own heads. Similarly, when you stop sinning, sooner or later someone is going to find fault with you. Oh, they won’t say, “You’ve stopped sinning so shame on you!” No, they’ll accuse you of something that will sound appropriate. In the case of Jesus, the religious leaders told the Roman leaders, “He’s stirring up the crowds against Caesar.”
How can this be good for the world? Lots of bees lose their stingers in the attack.
(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking. Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.” During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come. That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)
Lord, help me not be afraid of living more godly. As you endured rejection for doing what’s right, let me imitate You…(this is where you remain quiet to let Him work in your thoughts)… Amen.
(All scriptures, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the NASB.)