"Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution."
- 2 Timothy 3:12
Persecution shows itself in many ways. It can show itself in the martyrdom of a believer. It has been estimated that since the early church was formed to this present day, millions and millions of Christians have been martyred.
But persecution can show itself in other ways as well. Persecution of Christians has not stopped. It will continue on. In fact, the Bible says, "Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution" (2 Timothy 3:12). Now that is a promise we rarely claim. As believers, we lay hold of promises of God's provision and of God's protection. But when is the last time you heard someone pray, "Now Lord, You promised in Your Word that if I live godly, I will be persecuted. So bring it on, Lord"? We don't pray that, because who wants to be persecuted? There is no enjoyment in that. But if you are living a godly life, then persecution will come.
So how should we react when persecution comes our way? Jesus said, "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you" (Matthew 5:10–12).
Why are we persecuted? Because righteousness is confrontational. I'm not necessarily speaking of verbal confrontation. Just your presence-just the fact that you are a Christian-appears on the radar screens of other people. You can bother them a bit. So remember, as you simply live for the Lord, persecution will come.