Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Have We Made it Too Easy?

"Just say this prayer. That's all there is to it." This is the common message offered to lost people to help them accept Christ. That is the beginning, but is it really "all there is to it?"

Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the
kingdom of God!" - Mark 10:23 (NIV)

It is hard for the rich man. Is he the only one for which this thing of Christianity is difficult?

I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance
that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the
testimony of Jesus. - REV 1:9 (NIV)

John, the Apostle and writer of the book of Revlation, considered himself and those to whom he directed the Revelation as "companions in the suffering, kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus." If we are companions in suffering, it doesn't sound easy to me.

As a matter of fact, the Apostle Paul said that in order to truly know Christ - to reach that goal - he welcomed being a part of the "Fellowship of His suffering". (Phil. 3:10) Many of us want to know the "Power of His resurrection," without sharing in His suffering, but Paul knew that a genuine understanding of Christ would have to include suffering as He did for the sake of the salvation of others.

3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4
Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken
by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was
crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his
wounds we are healed. - Isaiah 53:3-5

To know Christ is to suffer for others; to suffer for Him; to suffer with the same joy with which we receive His blessings, because it is all a part of being a diciple of Jesus.

He came to give us life to the full - a life of meaning; of purpose. He did not come to give us an easy way out. We are supposed to die to ourselves the moment we receive Him, and daily thereafter.

This is not easy...but it is worth it 100 times over!