….in serving God?
As an American Christian I don’t face real persecution to speak of. But being a Christian to me means that I won’t partake in 90% of the entertainment out there. I gave up secular music, most movies, cable t.v., etc. I try to live in a way that pleases God- being quick to forgive and apologize, taking my thoughts captive, embracing humility, being self-controlled, etc. Just battling your own ‘flesh’ junk can be exhausting. Never mind the constant downward pull of living life under the curse in a fallen body with a sinful culture. Oh, and the crafty spiritual attacks from the forces of darkness.
Jesus; speaking of those who make great sacrifices for the Kingdom said, “who will not receive a hundred times as much here in this world—homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and fields, along with persecution—as well as eternal life in the age to come.” Mark 10:30
There are many, many blessings to following Christ…but there is a very real cost too. Jesus said we are to count the cost. Luke 14 We must be willing to give up everything else. Luke 14:33 We must carry our own cross and follow him. Luke 14:27 Following him can be very tough. The way is narrow. Matthew 7:13 “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.” Acts 14:22 We are sanctified through sufferings. Hebrews 5:8
So following Jesus is counter-cultural, it means a life of self-denial, and at times lonely up-hill climb…when most people are moving downhill.
So…what is the point?
“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” 1 Cor. 13:12
For me; I have decided that he is worth it. Jesus died for me, won’t I be willing to live for him? Guys, I have seen glimpses- like through a mirror dimly- but glimpses none the less; of who he is. Usually when I have needed it most. He appears and my troubles vanish. I get so overwhelmed in his presence. Nothing compares.
I am living for the day when I will see him face to face, and know him as fully as I am known. I imagine I will probably collapse into a sobbing mess in his presence. He will bend down, gently wipe my tears away and say, “well done, good and faithful servant.” Guys there will be tears. Not tears of sorrow. There is no sorrow in Heaven. Tears of joy. For us who have willingly bent our knees on Earth we will be completely overcome with joy. I believe in that moment everything will be clear. Everything will make sense. We will see that Jesus was so worth every sacrifice and every hardship.
There are so many blessings to following Christ here in the present. But I think if we only knew what awaits us… we would be completely wrecked for anything but Jesus for the rest of our lives.
“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined the things that God has prepared for those who love him.” 1 Cor. 2:9
I really don’t think we yet even have the capacity to understand. Just have faith that the moment we step into eternity- and into his presence- we will get it.
In this short, temporal life; anything and everything we do for Christ matters and carries over into eternity. Jesus says, “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.” Revelation 22:12
“You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” Psalm 16:11