October 22: “The Difficulty of and Provision for Following Jesus”

5 Minute Read + Scripture readings

Today’s Bible Reading:

2 Kings 3
2 Thessalonians 3
Daniel 7
Psalms 114-115

Today’s Bible Verse(s):

2 Thessalonians 3:3 (CSB): “But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one.”

Reflections on Today’s Bible Verse(s):

As you strive to live out your faith, obeying the commands of Jesus’, you will find out quickly that doing so will make enemies. It’s not necessarily you they will hate (although they will direct their hate at you). It is the message you proclaim and the One you align yourself with.

You see, the message of the Gospel is good news but it is also a bitter pill to swallow. Before we receive the forgiveness that Jesus died to give to us, we have to admit that we are a sinner, a law-breaker who has defied the God of Heaven. Only after we acknowledge our sin and guilt are we prepared to receive Heaven’s remedy. And that admission is a horribly bitter pill (Christians call it “conviction.”).

So, as you share the Gospel and as you live in conformity to the commands of Jesus (confessing and repenting whenever your stumble), you will have enemies. They won’t like your message or the One you claim to serve. They will call you judgmental, or intolerant, or hypocritical, or a bigot, or … fill in the blank.

How should we respond? Should we live in fear? Should we allow the hatred of others to keep us from living out our faith and sharing the Gospel with others? No! Instead, we should find comfort in what our God can provide us.

2 Thessalonians 3:3 (CSB): “But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one.”

Paul did not encourage them to rest in their own strength. Sure, they needed to be strong and courageous but they ultimately needed to rest in the Lord’s provision.

What would the Lord provide them … and you and me? Strength and protection!

2 Thessalonians 3:3 (CSB): “But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one.”

The Word of God says that our God will provide us the strength we need when we are standing for Him and sharing His Gospel. When we are being mistreated by “wicked and evil people” (2 Thessalonians 3:2), God stands ready to give us the strength to endure.

Further, God stands ready to give us protection. He will “guard you from the evil one.” This is an acknowledgement that behind evil people is the evil one, Satan himself. Satan can do absolutely nothing to you, or through evil people to you, without getting God’s permission to do so. If an evil person brings harm to you, it had to be allowed by God (for reasons only He may understand) before it happened to you.

So, friend, if you are a Christian, take it seriously. Share the Gospel. Live in passionate obedience to Jesus’ commands. Enjoy a growing relationship with your Lord.

And when it comes time for others to harm you, in one way or the other, for following Jesus, then rest in God’s care. There may be some other options available to you to stop the evil person but ultimately, we should rest in our God’s provision of strength and protection.

* * * * * * * * * *

Lord Jesus, it has never been easy to follow You. Certainly, there have been times and places where Christians paid a much higher price than I am paying right now for being a Christian. But, I realize that You will give me what I need as I do what You’ve said. I ask for strength and protection as I follow You and tell others about You. Amen.

Photo by G-R Mottez on Unsplash

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I have an incredible wife that God gave to me on May 10, 1997. Since then, the Lord has blessed us with three wonderful boys. I am also the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Polk City, Florida.

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