2 Tim 3:12 “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” 2 Tim 4:18 “The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom.” After church one Sunday Elaine and I had lunch with a couple who visited our service. I knew the husband from many years back and could see that God was stirring a desire in his heart to press in for more of Jesus. At one point we got to talking about suffering, and the wife said “yeah this is one of the main sticking points for David. He’s a bit cautious to press into God because he’s worried it leads to more attack.” So I replied “well you know I always wanted to play basketball as a kid, but I was too short and too scrawny to be any good at it. One time, God gave me a picture of what walking as a believer means. He asked me if I’d be excited to play basketball in the NBA. ‘Of course Lord. That would be a dream come true.’ ‘Well it would but you would get crushed. You wouldn’t stand a chance against those guys. But what if I let you play in the NBA and gave you Steph Curry’s 3 pointer, Spud Webb’s vertical, Wilt Chamberlain’s rebounding skills and Michael Jordan’s crossover? Now wouldn’t that be fun?’ ‘Lord, that would be totally insane.’ ‘But wait it gets better. What if I already won the championship for you? You’d experience the ups and downs of every game, playing with insane skills against the best players of all time, but you’d already have the championship ring in your pocket. Wouldn’t that be fun?’ ‘Wow…’” See following Jesus doesn’t mean less trials. Paul tells us that we can expect persecution when we desire a Godly life. The Kobes and the Lebrons of the world will come after us harder. But greater is he that is in me than he that is in the world. Lord, thank you for the cross. Through the trials I can take heart that the championship ring is already in my pocket. I have nothing to fear. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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