The Plain Truth:
Christianity is not a religion for the timid, the complacent, the self-satisfied. Jesus challenged the people of Jerusalem and it only made them mad. But you know, he continues to challenge us to this day by his Word and his Spirit.
Christianity suggests we need to stop putting ourselves at the center of the universe. We are to put God there and let him determine for us and for our lives what is best and what he would have us do. Yes, there are things we want, and if it is what God wants for us, great. But if not, we need to let go of those things and focus on what God wants – what he has plainly told us in his word.
If there are things about this world that we need to stay away from, attitudes and actions involved in obtaining power or achieving success that we should not be involved in, then we need to turn away from such things. Instead of focusing on our relations with this world, God would have us focus on our relationship with him and with one another.
As stressful as it may be, if there are changes we need to make in our lifestyle, then we need to make them. Jesus did not come into the world to justify our sins. He came to kill our sins, forever.
Even in ourselves, down to the deepest core of our being, in our most cherished beliefs, if they are out of kilter with God’s ways, we need to change no matter how much it might feel like dying. Jesus did not come to condemn us but to save us from ourselves. He came to set us free from sin, death and all manner of evil.
We only need to not be timid. Don’t pull back. Once we set our foot on the road, we must walk it to the end, even if there is a cross waiting for us, too.
I see people fall away from the faith all the time. I can imagine a day when only the bravest people of courage will continue to follow after Jesus. The comfortable or complacent who want to keep things as they are will always be disappointed with God. The self-satisfied will never come to real faith. Why?
Because Christianity is a life-long process of change. It is dying to self, dying to sin so that we might live for Christ. Of course, people who say such things risk angering others. And if others get angry enough, it can get ugly. They crucified Jesus, you recall.
As is usual for me, I believe the apostle Paul put it well. To live is Christ, to die is gain, so whether I live or die it is to God’s glory…