By Rick Furmanek.
Is Following Hard Really Worth All the Opposition?
If you follow Jesus for any length of time
and you pursue that relationship seriously
the Lord will eventually confront you will a choice
a choice of obedience
a choice of loyalty. This is part and parcel of what the Bible describes as counting the cost of following him. Yes, there is a cost involved
on both sides of the fence. Dont let anyone try to convince you otherwise
and sometimes the cost is quite heavy.
Being confronted with a choice to unswervingly obey, or ignore the opportunity for obedience and simply compromise, is not an easy place to find yourself in
for, if we choose to compromise
eventually we must make our way back to the Lords throne and openly confess our wrongdoing. It is no simple matter to approach him with hat in hand knowing you must tell him why you did what you did in your moment of disobedience (not to mention carrying the Spirit of Christ that resides in you right into your disobedience)
realizing you have no plausible defense nor excuse for your actions/decisions as you stand before His perfection. God is merciful to the nth degree
but He will not be toyed with nor His grace taken advantage of nor presumed upon.
Mind you, its quite easy to compromise at first . . . and can even be seen as a little fun . . . as long as the price tag for the compromise can be removed for the moment.
Remember what the writer of Hebrews says . . .
By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaohs daughter, */choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin/*. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.
Compromise is serious business. It happens all the time
but it shouldnt. Whether we disobey with the cost hidden or the price tag in full view, the consequences will be very real
and very experienced.
But note here also, as clearly described in the story of Moses, there is another side to this cost thing
not only is there a cost for compromise
that you must eventually do right by your God
but there is also a price tag for obedience. Moses chose to be abused, misunderstood, and ill thought of, opting to identify with the suffering people of God, rather than go the easy road of self-serving pleasure. He left riches, education and a long family heritage in order to follow God
for he had an understanding of the big picture and what mattered most.
From this example of Moses, we see that there is a cost involved in following.
Jesus own words affirm this again and again. In fact, he challenged, and even expected us to count the cost before we bend a knee to him. If the hearer didnt think the cost is worth it
Jesus was willing to let them go their own way. And while he is always willing to receive them back
he doesnt expect a person to do it blindly or without understanding what is involved and what is required in following him.
Remember the Disciples who left behind family, friends, jobs and homes for the sake of the Kingdom? Im sure that was not easy to do
but they counted the cost and did it anyway
and most likely made the hard choice in the face of some pretty serious opposition.
Im going to step out and make an assumption here
Im going to assume that you have understood to some degree what Ive tried to communicate up to this point
and Im going to assume you understand at least the concept that there is a price tag attached to following Christ.
That said, what might the cost of following hard after Jesus in todays world look like? First off, if we take our responsibility seriously and approach life with a desire to live a life for Christ without compromise
we can rest assured that, as the Bible promises, we will encounter opposition. To encounter no opposition and at the same time call ourselves a Christian should be cause for concern, for something is not right.
Note that opposition will come in many shapes and forms
some we wont expect
catching us completely off guard, thus testing our obedience
and other opposition we will plainly see gathering on the horizon, thus testing our loyalty. No matter where it comes from, we mustnt forget this truth, following Jesus Christ wholeheartedly will produce opposition from those around us
at times even from those we love the most.
In recollecting this afternoon from some recent experiences, Ive come up with
what I think are key areas from which you can pretty much expect opposition for carrying the name of Jesus with you in an uncompromising way.
Here they are:
-* Your mere presence may make others uncomfortable. *
Therefore, because of this, some are likely to try to avoid you. The Truth shown forth in the Light is something that this world would prefer not to experience. Light reveals those secrets we have spent tireless years trying to keep tucked away in a dark corner. Expect that your desire to walk in the Light
to be open and transparent
to lead a no-compromise sort of life
will make others uncomfortable
not intentionally, but as a natural by-product of your taking the name of Christ with you into places where Hes not necessarily welcome
at least not the Lordship side of Him.
-*You as a person may be seen as unkind. *
No doubt about it
we are to love
we are commanded to love
we are told that without love our message is meaningless and worthless
we are told that our love is the telltale sign of our following Jesus
but how love is defined and fleshed out today is so different from the biblical description of love. We mustnt let that important point
the change in the connotation of the word, love, trip us up in our Christian expression of love.
What you will find today is that those who watch you, listen to you and interact with you as you follow Christ
are likely to conclude that you are quite intolerant and inconsiderate of others. People today
even a lot of religious folk
really do have a problem with Jesus being the only way and the necessity of dying to self and forsaking all in order to have real life.
Fellow-follower, I dont care how you package it, you can drape love all over it
but try rebuking, correcting, admonishing
again in love
and the likely reaction youll get from the 21st century man
and lots of religious folk
is that you are just not a very nice person. Again, with the concept of love being so misunderstood today and often defined as absolute toleration of everyone and every belief surrounding you
we must be patient and make a concerted effort to attach a proper definition to the word love for our listeners and observers to grasp and hold on to, and then demonstrate it before them as a witness for our Lord.
That in itself might be the greatest act of kindness we can show them. And that act of kindness is not random
no, its very intentional.
This week has been tough. Ive experienced a few of these very things in my own life. Is it rewarding being misunderstood? Definitely not. Am I glad I was rejected? Not on your life. Would I prefer not to travel this route? You bet. But it really does come down to this simple statement that as a follower of Jesus I must confess again and again
yet not my will, but Yours be done.
Stay strong in Him
our redemption is drawing near.
Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
This was shared with me and I thought it worth sharing.