Sunday, July 26th
Are You Prepared?
During the opening sequence of the 1939 movie “The Wizard of Oz” Dorothy, played by Judy Garland, longs to escape from the bleak life she is living on a farm in Kansas. Dorothy imagines a life where there are no problems, difficulties, or tragedies, and life is perfect. She sings about this life in the song, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” where you can wish upon a star and your dreams will come true, troubles melt away like lemon drops, all in a land of soaring blue birds in the sky.
While there are times when we may wish for a world like Dorothy imagines, today’s passage in 2 Timothy 3:10-13 reminds us that the life of a believer involves persecution and suffering. As you learned that Timothy had followed Paul’s teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance, persecutions, and sufferings (vs. 10-11a), perhaps you found yourself thinking about what you know about the life of Paul. Were you rejoicing and maybe silently saying a “praise the Lord,” when you read of the victory Paul had when the Lord rescued him out of all his difficulties? But what about when you came to verse 12, as you read, “Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted?” What did you think then?
Unfortunately, we live in a time where we are bombarded from certain segments with the unbiblical idea that Christians should never suffer and if you come to Jesus, then all your problems will be over. On the Ligonier Ministries Facebook page on 20 September 2014, R. C. Sproul made a statement about what this type of teaching really is. He wrote, “I get irritated when I hear preachers say, ‘Come to Jesus and all your problems will be over.’ That’s just simply a lie.”
Reality is that when Adam sinned, sin entered into the world, death became a reality and the world has not been right since (Rom. 5:12). Ephesians 6:12 reminds us, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” The inescapable reality of how close the enemy is was outlined by Jesus in the Parable of the Wheat and Tares in Matthew 13; the enemy is all around us and may actually be right beside us. While we may not like it, the truth is that suffering and persecution are not going away any time soon.
When I was a child I belonged to the Boy Scouts and their motto is something that we should remember and put into practice as Christians. “Be Prepared.” The fact of life is that, according to verse 13, “evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.” This is the world that we live in, and if we are prepared, we should be equipped and ready to face any foe for Jesus. To be prepared we need to be immersed in the Word of God. Only then, we will be adequately equipped to face the foe and fulfill our ministry. In closing let me ask the question I started with, “Are you prepared?”