One promise we would rather do without
Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. – 2 Timothy 3:12
18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.
19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
20 Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.
21 But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me.
One of the difficulties of being human is making promises that we do not keep. This is particularly true when we try to help others in need and make unrealistic promises, that for one reason or another, we are unable to fulfill. Many of us find it difficult to follow through on our commitments. We often find ourselves frustrated, a bit ashamed, and despondent.
How can we avoid overpromising? How can we make keepable promises? It all begins with clear thinking. Get a grasp on what can be done to help. Then narrow it down. Of all things possible, what can we do to help? What can we deliver? Make wise selections and then commit to carrying them out.
Some essential practices can facilitate this. Make promises that are:
- Specific and tangible.
Keep your offer to help unambiguous, well-defined, and precise
- Simple, doable in small steps, and time-limited.
Your offer should be achievable in a few small steps
- Sincere and honest to yourself.
Be proactive and take time to reflect. Give yourself time to come up with achievable commitments
- Regularly reviewed by checking in regularly.
Do not leave people hanging. Follow-up. (Condensed from Devon Frye, Psychology Today, December 31, 2021)
The Father makes promises and commitments. Some of His promises are wonderful and beyond our wildest imagination. Others not so much. Suffering is promised as an element of life for every child of the King. This is so because “The unbelieving world will always remain deeply hostile to the gospel” (ESV).
The Father has promised that all children of the King who aspire to live a godly life through the Lord Jesus Christ will suffer persecution.
2 Timothy 3:12 Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.
“This is one of those promises of God that we’d really rather do without. God tells us this, not to discourage us, but to prepare us for the inevitable so that we can shine for Him when the time comes” (Stanley).
An antidote for overcoming persecution is to remember that the fallen world hated the Lord Jesus Christ and rejected Him. Our walk with the Lord Jesus Christ begins by identifying with Him.
18 If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first.
19 The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you.
20 Do you remember what I told you? “A slave is not greater than the master.” Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you.
21 They will do all this to you because of me, for they have rejected the one who sent me.
22 They would not be guilty if I had not come and spoken to them. But now they have no excuse for their sin.
23 Anyone who hates me also hates my Father.
24 If I hadn’t done such miraculous signs among them that no one else could do, they would not be guilty. But as it is, they have seen everything I did, yet they still hate me and my Father.
25 This fulfills what is written in their Scriptures: “They hated me without cause.”
This reality is part of the bedrock of the biblical foundation upon which we began our Christian faith. We are to stand upon the Truth we have learned, and move forward.
Continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of because you know those from whom you learned it. – 2 Timothy 3:14
REFLECT & PRAY
The Father is always aware of what was, what is, and what will come. He never says, “whoops!”
Father I often struggle in my effort to get this right. I find myself filled with self-doubt. I misunderstood the struggle. Help me to recognize and accept the fact that I must become weak before I can become strong in You.
When things don’t go well, we often think it’s our fault. Somehow there must be something wrong with us. We struggle to find meaning and purpose in our lives.
So often we have this backward. The Father chose each child of the King for His purposes. He prepares us to accomplish His dream for us. Often that preparation is very difficult, even grievous.
We must learn to be weak before we can become strong.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10
7 I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.
8 Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away.
9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.
10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
A biblically-based perspective is foundational for our relationship with the Father. It is essential for our usefulness to Him. The Father uses our prayers, words, actions, and service to accomplish His purpose on earth. We live to serve Him and to carry out the work He has entrusted to us. He has invited us to participate.
“The Word of God, living and growing within us, produces lasting and increasing joy. A lack of joy in a Christian’s life often can be traced to a lack of concentrated devotional time in God’s Word” (Stanley).
Ephesians 3:20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.
© Dr. H 2022