“In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (Reference: 2 Timothy 3:12 )
How would we, in our modern day, define persecution? Perhaps that is the question that has been dancing around for a while. What constituents being persecuted? Is it having our faith tested by circumstances and events – ie temptations? Is it having someone dismiss or ridicule or otherwise not take seriously our faith? Is it being discriminated because of our faith? We may be afraid to define or label what we go through as persecution because it does not measure up to other forms of persecution that have resulted in far more suffering and physical violence. And maybe that is another issue we have been dancing around. I don’t know. What I do know is that for me the span of time when “Persecution” has been the theme has been challenging. In this the final day, I have found a letter excerpt that allows speaks to persecution in a way that gives room for a wide spectrum of definitions. Jerome Segers wrote to his wife Lijsken in 1551 when they were both imprisoned; both were executed, Jerome in 1551 and his wife a year later. I would hope that this letter gave her courage, and I would hope the same thing for us beloved. Selah!
“So we too, my dear wife, have not yet won when we have confessed the truth and separated ourselves from the world with its desires and temptations. We must strive against the enemies in this world, that is against kings and authorities and princes, Eph. 6:12. We must suffer in this world, for Paul said that all who live godly in this world will suffer persecution, 2 Tim. 3:12. We must overcome the world, sin, death, and the devil not with external swords or spears, but with the sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God, Eph. 6:17, and with the shield of faith with which we can stop all the sharp arrows, which are as fire, and take the helmet of salvation and the armor of righteousness, having our feet ready to proclaim the gospel. When we are strengthened with these weapons we too, with Israel, shall pass through this wilderness and overcome all our foes, 2 Tim. 3:8. . . .”