The way of Jesus follows the way of the cross. The path of the cross begins at the place of torture and beating, and ends with the impaling of nails into flesh. Jesus says this path, as a disciple, is to be taken daily. The path itself is one of humiliation, which the crowds who witnessed Him mocked him for the criminal they assumed He was, shouting at Him that He deserved His fate. So it should not surprise us when the crowds do the same. Jesus says from the outset that His path isn’t one of glory and joy, wealth and blessing. We are blessed surely when we receive such, but that shouldn’t be our expectation. Our problems don’t go away in Jesus. In fact the temptation becomes much harder, because once the Enemy has lost us, he has to work twice as hard to try and get us back. And he will.
But while the path of the cross is painful, it is brief. There is an end to that path, and once achieved, you will receive the reward of a life lived for Jesus. In some ways it seems Jesus works very hard to reveal to us that this life isn’t our ultimate goal. This life is merely temporary. It is the next life, the eternal life in heaven that should inspire us and give us hope.
So the question laid to us is this: If I am not experiencing any of the suffering normally associated with being a Christian, am I really being a Christian? Am I truly living the life He has called me to?
I have asked myself these kinds of questions for years. It is one reason I desired full-time Christian service, feeling that was one way to put myself at the Lord’s mercy for work. Of course asking the rest of my family to live with my choices is another matter.
I feel in part that because I live in America, I do not receive the kinds of threats to my life and faith as I would in Indonesia or Iraq. In this nations all points of view are tolerated. It’s live and let live. And even though churches have been forced to closed due to the pandemic, we still worship and function, and in my part of the country, being a Christian is socially approved. Lucky me, I guess.
But my temptations come in other ways. My Christianity is more sorely tested, because my living and lifestyle must stand out more to be distinct from the world around me, and it is far easier to be a “nominal” Christian. If Jesus were the only words from my lips, I would be considered “crazy” and “hyper-religious.” Neither of those are particularly winsome or persuasive. I am more free to be a Christian, but it is far harder to stay a Christian.
But I want to encourage you fellow believer, wherever you are, that Christ is for you. Christ has work for you to do, in whatever walk you are in, because the path of Christ is for all of us. be watchful today for those opportunities to share with others the faith that is within you. God bless you all today!
God, show me today those opportunities that are unique to me and my station that only I can do to share the hope that is within me. May You work in me to share a gift so gracefully given. Thank You Jesus. In Your Name I pray, Amen.