Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
~ 2 TIMOTHY 3:12 NLT
Strength and Courage
“Now when [the accusers] saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13).
Peter and John had been with Jesus. The resurrected Jesus. In the Upper Room when he walked through the wall. Standing next to Thomas when the disciple touched the wounds. On the beach when Jesus cooked the fish. Sitting at Jesus’ feet for forty days as he explained the ways of the kingdom.
They had lingered long and delightfully in the presence of the resurrected King. Awakening with him, walking with him. And because they had, silence was no longer an option. “We cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard” (v. 20).
Could you use some high-octane boldness? If you want to outlive your life, you could. As long as you are stationary, no one will complain. Dogs don’t bark at parked cars. But as soon as you accelerate—once you step out of drunkenness into sobriety, dishonesty into integrity, or lethargy into compassion—expect the yapping to begin. Expect to be criticized. Expect to be mocked. Expect to be persecuted.
So how can we prepare ourselves? Simple. Imitate the disciples. Linger long and often in the presence of Christ. Meditate on his grace. Ponder his love. Memorize his words. Gaze into his face. Talk to him. Courage comes as we live with Jesus.
Peter said it this way. “Don’t give the opposition a second thought. Through thick and thin, keep your hearts at attention, in adoration before Christ, your Master. Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you’re living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy” (1 Peter 3:14–15 MSG).
As we meditate on Christ’s life, we find strength for our own.
—OUTLIVE YOUR LIFE
Father, help us to be bold for you like Peter and John. May our lives count for your kingdom. Outfit us with courage to overcome tests and trials. We will meditate on your grace and ponder your love. You, Lord, are the center of our lives, amen.
Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.
~ JOSHUA 1:9
Say to those who are fearful-hearted, “Be strong, do not fear!”
~ ISAIAH 35:4