Willing to endure
Because I preach this Good News, I am suffering and have been chained like a criminal. But the word of God cannot be chained. So I am willing to endure anything if it will bring salvation and eternal glory in Christ Jesus to those God has chosen. 2 Timothy 2:9-10
If it were possible to extinguish Christianity through violent persecution, it would have been snuffed out long ago. But it is a fact of the last 2,000 years that the persecution of the Church has simply accelerated its growth. Tertullian, an author in the second century, wrote: “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.” Most of us have had no experience of violent persecution, but it is important to remember that it continues to be the experience of many Christians around the world today. Every year, thousands of Christians are killed because of their faith in countries such as Afghanistan, North Korea, Somalia, Libya and Yemen.
Paul was certain that, however great the persecution, the word of God could never be chained. We find exactly the same truth in the prophecy of Isaiah 55:10-11. God declared: “The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.”
What an encouragement these words should be for us all! It often seems as if people aren’t remotely interested in God’s word, and we can get discouraged. But we should hold on to the truth that the word of God then and now is, to use the words of Hebrews 4:12, “alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword”.
Paul was willing to suffer anything in the cause of proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ. For him, nothing in the world could be more important or worthwhile than that.
How much are you willing to endure as you live for God?
Lord God, I thank you for the inspiration of Paul’s testimony. Help me to be willing to serve you faithfully, however tough it might be. Amen