In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,
— 2 Timothy 3:12
In the Old Testament, there is a story in the book of Job about a man that goes through an unreal amount of opposition. Job loses his possessions, his health, and even his family, except for his wife, who tells him to “curse God and die.” Job is the ultimate example of suffering, and here is the craziest part of this story: the reason Job suffered — wait for it — is because he was righteous! Job suffered because he was a righteous man that attracted the attention of Satan. Everyone surrounding Job was convinced that he had done something wrong to be punished so badly, yet the only thing that Job did was obey. Job faced opposition because he was a righteous man.
I grew up playing basketball, it was my first love until I became a Christian and then it was my second love. The city in which I grew up was home to some very talented ball players. We had several guys from our town go on and play Division 1 basketball and a few made it to the NBA. I, obviously, was not one of them! Every summer, there were pickup games being played. This was the real test. Playing in a gym during the season was one thing, but playing pickup games in the summer was a rite of passage. In the summer, you found out how good you really were. I remember one summer playing in a streetball tournament, and our team was playing a very talented team from the city. Their star player was heading to the University of Illinois on a scholarship. I remember as we stepped onto the court for the game, the star player called me out and told his teammates to watch out for me because I was a “shooter”. I didn’t want the attention of the defense or to be guarded by the best player. I had no desire to face that much opposition, but there was something very rewarding about having the attention of the enemy.
Every follower of Jesus Christ will face opposition from the enemy. Believers don’t desire the attention and may wonder why a righteous person would suffer persecution. Some might even assume they had done something wrong. The truth is that opposition comes to those who pose a threat. Take heart today that your character has been noticed by the enemy and he has deemed you worthy to be called out and persecuted. You have been noticed by the enemy but, more importantly, you have been noticed by God. And we look forward to the day when all will be made right and God will tell us, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”