When I first got exposed to Christianity at 23 years old, I was given the impression that all would be bliss when I became a Christian. Heaven now awaited me and I could enjoy heaven on earth till …
When I first got exposed to Christianity at 23 years old, I was given the impression that all would be bliss when I became a Christian. Heaven now awaited me and I could enjoy heaven on earth till then. I was informed that my choice to accept Christ would implement a kind of pain free life filled with sun and fun. I found myself pretending it was easy, hoping the pain would go away and wondering what I was doing wrong because my real life didn’t reflect that.
Since then I’ve met a number of people that got a whole different story. They were told that after they joined the faithful, life would be filled with troubles, lack, pain and suffering. They saw these things as a sort of badge of honor and so they lived with dissatisfaction and disappointment and called it God’s will. These people have often just succumbed to the fact that, life stinks, so deal with it. I can’t figure out where either mindset came from because the Bible seems to tell a different story.
The truth that has come my way now after 40 years is somewhere in the middle. The authentic Christian life I’ve found is filled with a tension between “awesome” and “anguish”. I think that’s why God told us to spend time reading the pages of our Bible so we would get the whole story. I’ve seen God speak often of victory in the Bible, but the word victory tells us there was a battle.
One of the things I’ve learned is the need for courage to live as an authentic Christian. We must love when it’s not easy or popular, we must give when it’s not convenient and we must resist many things that seem enticing but are in truth destructive to our souls.
God has often required this trait of His followers because they’re asked to swim upstream in their cultures and among their peers. Joshua is a Bible person that was asked to take several thousand people into a place called the promised land. It was a very special land filled with many abundant life benefits. The down side was that there were big, powerful, aggressive, evil inhabitants of this land. They would need courage to enjoy life’s benefits. It wouldn’t be easy or pain free. In fact God told Joshua 4 times that he needed courage and strength to do what was being asked of him.
Have you ever wondered why life is a little challenging? Are you faced with some uphill battles? Well, take courage, you’ll need it. Life was never supposed to be easy. We as Christ followers are to be a force of change in our community and in our nation. We are asked to do the hard things, like choosing morality over economic benefits. We are called to step out of our comfort zones and tell our neighbor that living for God is not easy but the rewards are awesome.
Even Jesus Himself gave the simple instructions to his troubled followers: Matthew 14:27 “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” So if you’re a bit overwhelmed in life and wondering if God cares? Know this, God is close by and wants to give you the courage to reach the finish line.
Written by Pastor Paris Pasch of The Journey Church in Hastings