Bible has many promises
The Bible is full of many wonderful promises. There’s the promise of the abiding presence of Christ as Hebrews 13:5 says; “…I will never leave you nor forsake you.” What a great promise, for those who trust in Jesus Christ, his presence will always be with them no matter what they face.
There are promises of provision. Jesus said in Matthew 6:31-33; “…Do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ …your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” When we seek God and his righteousness, God promises our needs will be met according to his riches (Philippians 4:19).
Of course the best promise God gives is that of everlasting life. There are many scriptures that give the promise of eternal life with the most famous being; John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
The Bible speaks of other realities that we probably wouldn’t call promises, still they are truth. Like when the Apostle Paul was helping a young pastor (Timothy) to know how to lead the church, he told him something that stands as a reality even today. 2 Timothy 3:12 says; “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” Now that’s not a Bible verse many want to call “a promise” yet it’s a truth that cannot be set aside. What does that mean? How does that play out?
When anyone follows Jesus, trusting him and living according to God’s word, they will stand out from their culture. The Bible calls believers “strangers or aliens” in the world. Because you live by a different standard, people who reject God’s love and commands will come against you.
While many Christians around the world are being persecuted, some even to the point of death, here in America persecution tends to take a much less aggressive form. What does persecution look like for us? Your friends might dump you, you might be passed over for a promotion or people will call you bigoted or narrow minded when you stand for Christ.
When those things happen the believer shouldn’t be surprised because this world should not be considered your home. Your home is in heaven where you will live with God forever. God’s way is narrow and Jesus knew that would cause problems, so he prepared his followers for what might come. In Matthew 5:44 Jesus said; “…I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.”
The way of Jesus is not retaliation but reconciliation. It’s the love that God showed us and the love we have for others that will show us to be God’s children. When persecution comes, it’s when we represent Christ that people will see the great promises God has given to those who believe. When Jesus’ followers love even those who treat them badly, that’s when we’re seen as those who have been changed by God and that’s when others will be drawn to this great faith we have.
Pastor Rich Lammay of High Sierra Fellowship is a member of the Carson Valley Ministers’ Association.