Whenever you make a purchase, you decide if something is worth the asking price. You stop at a convenience store and are craving a candy bar or soda and don’t care if they cost 3 times what you would pay elsewhere. Maybe you are debating whether or not to bail a friend out of trouble and ask yourself if it will really make a difference this time of if he will just end up in the same place again. A few hours or a few years later, you look back at some of your choices and say, I’ll never do that again, or maybe that was well worth it! Many of our poor choices in life are fueled by strong emotions like anger, frustration, pride, or greed. There was an incident a couple weeks ago within 2 miles from my home where emotions between 2 young men escalated to the point where one was stabbed to death. When we get into trouble, either by saying something we shouldn’t, or by doing something stupid that we later regret, or any number of small or large costly mistakes, we hopefully learn from it with as little negative consequence on us or those around us. What are your biggest failures or regrets, so far?
In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples. Luke 14:33
In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. 2 Timothy 3:12
When you make a purchase, like a car or a house, you may often be so excited about the benefits of the item that you overlook some of the flaws or drawbacks. Maybe you didn’t notice a few things that may cost you more in repairs later on. At one point in your life, when you said yes to Christ, were you mainly concerned with the cost or the benefit of becoming His disciple? For many of us, we may have been motivated by the understanding of our depravity and need for a Savior, while at the same time fearing the other option of eternal damnation. There are even some who chase after a false prosperity gospel message of getting rich by following Christ. When we become His, the desires of our heart often change from worldly things to eternal things, and we also learn that we are not promised wealth, but more so persecution. Some of us do not really surrender our whole life to Him, but often try to hold on to many of our selfish desires and maintain control of what we want and not what He wants for us. How many of us have fully surrendered our lives to Christ saying ‘do with me as you please’?
If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:26-27
Following Christ in the West often has little implication on our family and friends. Your friends may change a bit, but its not usually socially unacceptable to be a Christian, even if your family does not do the same. If you are living in a primarily Musilm, Buddhist or Hindu country, becoming a Christian can have much more significant implications. You often may disown your own family, or become shunned by them to make such a decision. After reading only a few stories of persecuted Christians, you realize that some may even face the threat of imprisonment or even death as a result of their faith. Have you ever wondered or asked yourself what you would do in a situation like this? If given the option to hold on to your faith or your life, which would you choose? We may hope that we never face such a threat, but pray for those who do, and for what you would choose if in their shoes. Maybe a more pressing question for you today is ‘What do I want’ vs. ‘What does God want’?
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20
Yours in Christ,