“Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” 2 Timothy 3:12
Scripture promises persecution for all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus. Those marked by His holy name, exhibiting His character and His righteousness, will be hated. Mocked. Conspired against. Even killed. So why do we choose it? Why do we choose Him?
“I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order to gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead” (Philippians 3:8-11).
We choose Jesus because the worth of knowing Him surpasses everything else. It is a truth we are able to see more clearly the closer we get to His glory. The Spirit of God reveals His beauty and worth in stages…because it is too much for us to take in all at once. Our Lord is infinitely glorious. We will never get to the end of Him. We will praise Him through all of eternity because we will be continually awed by this holy God to whom none can compare.
We choose Jesus, with all the persecution and difficulty, because “this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18). We fix our eyes on the joy set before us, as our Savior did when He died in our place. Those who don’t know Him cling to what they can see and run after the pleasures of the moment. But we see greater pleasures lasting forevermore in the presence of our God, and we run after the prize that is Him.
We aren’t running after mere streets of gold and mansions in heaven. No, we run after the One whose glory far surpasses any we can imagine. His glory fills the skies. Which means that as speechless as we are when we see images of stars, galaxies, nebulae that are more beautiful and vast than we can fathom, they can’t even compare to the glory and power of our God. So yes, heaven will be breathtakingly beautiful—because it is where the King of glory dwells. And we run the race with endurance so that we can see and worship Him.
“And above the expanse of their heads there was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like sapphire; and seated above the likeness of a throne was a likeness with a human appearance. And upward from what had the appearance of his waist I saw as it were gleaming metal, like the appearance of fire enclosed all around. And downward from what had the appearance of his waist I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and there was brightness around him. Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness all around. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD” (Ezekiel 1:26-28).
This is the God whom we can know. This is the God who draws us to Himself. The God of our salvation. The God who is our hope. The Lord our Righteousness. The God who is holy and just. The God who made a way for us through Jesus Christ, and it is only in His name and through His blood that we can be saved from the wrath that is our due. In choosing Jesus, we are choosing hardship and affliction in this world. But we are also choosing unspeakable joy, true freedom, and abundant life that is everlasting. It is difficult, but it is worth it. He is worth it. And He is with us each moment, strengthening us and sustaining us as we remain faithful to Him.
“They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.” Revelation 22:4-5
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time…Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:3-5, 8-9