8. It is a life that requires sacrifices
The Gospel that the Devil preached and offered to Jesus during the temptation was the gospel of success, prosperity and power. He said to Jesus that he would give Him everything that He wanted and needed, without any big effort on His part. He just needed to say the words, take a leap of faith, and worship him. Jesus rejected that offer and decided to take a more painful path, which would lead Him to the cross.
Nowadays we are receiving the same offer over and over. The offer is still the same – an easy path to success, prosperity, and power. Even though many preachers and teachers try to ease our conscience, reinterpreting the message of the Gospel, we find ourselves struggling with the wide path and the narrow path that Jesus mentioned.
Let me be as clear as possible. Jesus never promised a life for His disciples that would be easy with a lot of prosperity, success, and power. On the contrary, he invited His disciples to deny themselves, take the cross, and follow Him. At that time He was going to Jerusalem, and His disciples understood its implications.
Jesus many times stated that sacrifices and struggles would be part of a Christian life. Here are a few warnings that Jesus gave to His disciples: “Be on your guard against men; they will hand you over to the local councils and flog you in their synagogues. On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. Matthew 10:17-18. All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. Matthew 10:22. “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. Matthew 24:9.” As you can see, He promised persecution, hate, opposition, and troubles for those who are willing to follow Him.
Of course we cannot forget the presence of the Holy Spirit during those times, comforting and enabling us to pass through those situations. We cannot forget the help, love, and support from the church in our suffering. We cannot forget the reward that is waiting for those who persevere. Yes we will be rewarded by God Himself when we finish our journey.
I do not know why some of us suffer more than others. But it is true that some Christians today are facing death because of their faith, and some of us are just suffering laughs and jokes, nothing really dangerous. God is the one who knows the “why”. We just need to strengthen our faith as much as we can so we will be faithful when the tough times come because of our beliefs.
My brother and sister, being a Christian requires sacrifices, and that is a fact. Do not forget it.
Have a blessed week,