I’ve been following Jesus for ten years. However, I wonder – if I had it to do over again, would I?
I ponder the thought and ultimately come to one conclusion:
Yes. I’m pretty sure I would have made the same decision.
Don’t misunderstand me. Any hesitation stems from my own weaknesses. God is far too capable to let me down. Sometimes, however, I question my part in the deal. Will I make a fool of myself if I have to undergo pain for Christ’s cause?
After all, other Christians have suffered far worse than I. Throughout the ages, believers have endured any and all forms of hardship, up to and including death. Why would I be any different? Why would any of us?
Following Christ, however, has invited innumerable problems into my life. Maybe they’re simply attributes of aging, but I was old enough at my salvation day to remember my pre-redeemed life. And that life – well, it was easier. I could look the other way when I made a mistake. I could sedate myself with a drug or drink of choice. Heck, I could live any way I wanted. Yes, it was easier. Less hopeful, but easier.
Let’s be honest: proclaiming Christianity put a target on my back. Yours too.
Yes, if you proclaim Christ’s name as your own, you are Satan’s choice. He wants nothing more than to run you through the ringer and hang you on a clothesline. Admittedly, sometimes he does. Here’s some ways you may suffer:
All of us know someone who may hate us because we’re Christian. They may be an acquaintance, close friend, or (Heaven forbid) even your own family or spouse. If you take off your street clothes and put on your robe of righteousness, they may loathe you. Terrible, but true.
I got saved at a relatively old age: twenty-seven. Most people in my life knew me as pre-redeemed Diane. I had well-established relationships, so my change was…weird. And I didn’t do it gradually. Oh, no. When I found Jesus, I went all out. Bible in my hand. Christian music everywhere I went. Church about six times a day. Prayer every morning at 4am. Man, I must have ticked off everyone around me.
You might, too. But isn’t it best if they hear about Christ from you instead of someone else?
These may be increasingly difficult once you switch from dark to light. Let’s face it, the workplace can stink sometimes. Corruption. Greed. Back-stabbing. However, you will become such an asset bosses will be clamoring for your service.
If you are suffering in your job right now, take heart dear friend. If we were sitting across from each other in Starbucks, I’d take your hand at this point. Everything will be okay. You will be rewarded richly for your great service, whether in this life or the next. Keep your head up. Don’t quit. God is with you.
I hesitate to mention this, but you may lose your life. We all may. This world is getting increasingly hostile towards Christians and we must choose now Whom we follow. Can we be brave enough to know Jesus will care for us, even in the hour of our death?
There’s good news, however. It’s all worth it.
The other day I watched Braveheart. (On my treadmill tired as all get-out, I started the movie and then got scared. Scared because I know it’s violent. And long. But then I realized I’d be on the treadmill longer, so I stuck with it. Hehe.)
I think everyone on the planet has seen the movie, but if you haven’t, here’s a breakdown: William Wallace, a thirteenth-century Scottish hero, led a group of oppressed, rag-tag Scotsmen to victory against the superior English army. In his locker-room speech prior to the initiation battle William delivers a renowned speech. Allow me to post it here:
Aye, fight and you may die, run and you’ll live. At least a while. And dying in your beds many years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days from this day to that for one chance, just one chance to come back here and tell our enemies: you may take our lives, but you’ll never take our freedom!
-William Wallace, Braveheart
With your permission, I’d like to modify. The world may take everything from you, including your life. You may suffer unimaginably simply for proclaiming Christ. We may often doubt our strength to continue against the hardship.
Yes, they may take your life. And everything else. But they will never, ever, ever take your salvation. And that, my friend, lasts forever.
For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. (Luke 9:24)
He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.