Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. (2 Tim. 3:12)
Too often, I hear the gospel only from a “God will make your life better” perspective. It’s presented like life on a silver platter, and I can’t help but cringe. While God certainly transforms lives, this version of the Christian life just seems too shiny, too shallow. It’s like inviting people to dive into a shallow puddle rather than into the deep waters of God’s grace and abundance. And when life gets hard, many new believers wonder whether they got this God-thing right.
Friends, we don’t have to spit-shine the gospel to sell it. Living in grace is messy, and in many ways, faith only complicates life. Take Paul, for example. Before becoming a believer, he held rank among his people. He had power. Notoriety. When he converted to Christianity, however, he went from power to persecution. Time after time he was put into prison, beaten, and sent away due to being aligned with Jesus. Paul wasn’t the only one. In fact, he said that persecution was inevitable for all Christians.
Gospel seekers need to know this. They need to understand that as a believer, they may lose power, influence, friends, or even their very lives. But like Paul, even in suffering, they can rejoice in the goodness and glory of God. He can be everything even when we have nothing. God is enough—and he’s worth it. And that’s the beauty of the gospel.
Embrace persecution, and trust God to live out his gospel.
Sarah E. Westfall resides in Fort Wayne, Indiana, with her husband Ben and their four boys. Her elusive free time is spent reading, home remodeling, and writing.
© 2019 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.