We learn very early in life that there can be a very dear price to be paid for being different from those around us.
Being in sync with the *devil’s world (1) puts one at *odds (2) with God. If a believer is not willing to become "odd" in the eyes of them world, his/her discipleship is not going to produce much fruit. The fruit of discipleship is saved and/or edified souls.
Initially, discipleship is for the edification of oneself, but with the long term objective of participating in the evangelizing and edification of the souls of others.
Biblical discipleship begins with the ongoing *study (3) of the Word of God under the teaching ministry of a Biblically *qualified (4) pastor teacher.
Next, discipleship calls for daily and nightly *meditation (5) on the doctrine he/she has been taught.
Finally discipleship calls for the *application (6) of the Word of God twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. Discipleship is a lifestyle that requires certain things no matter where we are and no matter what we may otherwise be doing.
If not during the studying or meditation phases, the reality of persecution spoken of in 2Tim. 3:12 will certainly manifest itself at the point of application of the doctrine learned.
“Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted (2Tim. 3:12 NASB).”
Note that 2Tim.3:12 NASB says “all” (not some) and that it says “will (not might) be persecuted.” To “live godly” refers to the lifestyle of discipleship. The 2Tim.3:12 divine standard for evaluating the quality of one’s discipleship is the amount of persecution he/she experiences as a direct result of participating in the *Great Commission (7).
The more *Christ-like (8) one becomes in his/her *thinking (9) and *behavior (10), the more odd he/she is going to become in the eyes of the world.
It's this oddity that will cause some to *persecute (11), some to *hate (12), some to *insult and speak all kinds of evil about an advancing disciple because of Him (13).
At the same time this oddity of mindset and behavior is the advancing disciple's unspoken testimony of faith.
It is the oddity of one’s unspoken testimony that God will use to motivate observers to *ask (14) advancing disciples why it is that they think, act, and prioritize things differently from those around them. This opens doors of opportunity for evangelism and/or edification.
“But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account of the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence (1Peter 3: 15 NASB).”
One of the things that draws the attention of observers is how the advancing disciple handles adversity, tragedy, challenges, and persecution.
This oddity does not mean that advancing disciples are not to engage in many of the same secular activities at home, work, school, or play as do their worldly counterparts.
On the contrary, it is while we are sharing the same daily activities that we are to serve as Christ’s *ambassadors (15). Evangelizing and/or edifying the souls that we interact with is what gives spiritual significance to everything we do each and every day.
Just as God the Father *sent (16) God the Son (Jesus Christ) into the world with a primary mission in mind, so does the Lord Jesus Christ *send (17) His advancing disciples out into the world with a primary *mission (18) in mind.
Jesus was not *usually (19) spoken evil of for His miraculous activities. Likewise, Christians are not usually bad mouthed for their involvement in humanitarian or environmental activities.
It was when He spoke and when advancing disciples speak of the one and only *way (20) to Heaven that persecution begins. Overtly participating in the Great Commission will make advancing disciples odd, even among many who claim to be Christians.
*(1) Luke 4: 6 NASB. *(2) James 4: 4 NASB. *(3) 2Pet. 3: 18 NASB. *(4) 2Tim. 2: 24c NASB * *(5) Psalms 1: 2/Joshua 1: 8 NASB. *(6) James 1: 22 NASB. *(7) Matt. 28: 19, 20 NASB *(8) Rom. 8: 29 NASB *(9) 1Cor. 2: 16 NASB *(10) 1Cor. 4: 12,13 NASB *(11) 2Tim.3:12 NASB *(12) John 15: 19 NASB. *(13) Matt. 5: 11 NASB *(14) 1Pet.3: 15 NASB *(15) 2Cor. 5: 20 NASB *(16) John 3: 17 *(17) John 17: 18 NASB *(18) Matt.28: 19, 20 NASB *(19) Matt. 12: 24 NASB *(20) John 14: 6 NASB
* Article originally postec as a Writing Challenge entry @Faithwriters.com.