I honestly had no idea where I was going with this blog post when I started it. I had one line in my head, and I went with it.
Take a short trip with me back to middle school when you were standing on the playground with a group of kids from your class. It’s time to play kickball. The big moment has arrived to pick teams. It’s obvious who will get picked first, and the back and forth begins. “I’ll take him.” “I pick her.” And it goes on until there are one or two geeky kids left, standing there looking like hair gel at a bald man convention. Very out of place. Reluctantly, each one is picked up by a team, but everyone knows they won’t be allowed to do much. They were picked because they were the last ones standing there. The only options remaining.
Sometimes I feel like that’s how Christianity is today. We go for the flash, the excitement, the grandeur, but we don’t want to pick the humble, unassuming, opposite of flashy truth that is standing there waiting for us. We only turn to Christ when He is the last option available to chose from. We want the comfort, luxury, and hype instead of the sacrifice, danger, and dying to self. We think that if we are Christians, we deserve great things in life. After all, isn’t that what Jesus promised? Well, um, no not exactly.
Matthew 10:22 Jesus said “You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.”
2 Timothy 3:12 Paul said “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”
Now, there are different ways to see persecution. Strangely enough, they appear a whole heap of different when you look at Western Christianity and other parts of the world. Here, someone may roll their eyes and curse us if we mention that we go to church. In another part of the world, people are beheaded for mentioning the word church. Here, someone may make fun of us on Facebook or Twitter if we share the Gospel. In another part of the world, families are murdered when one of them speaks the name of Jesus.
See the difference? Are we even truly being persecuted for our faith here in America? Or should we call it what it is? Sometimes we are uncomfortable. There is a glaring difference between being uncomfortable and being butchered into tiny pieces for a Gospel we believe in. I’ve been reading a book entitled The Insanity of God, and believe me, we have no clue what being persecuted for our faith even means.
If someone spray paints “God sucks” on the side of our church building, we are quick to start screaming “Persecution! Persecution!” Seriously? Some punk spent $1.50 on a can of paint, and decided to be cool in front of his friends. Who got hurt? No one. Was the pastor dragged out of his home and beaten in the middle of the street? Nope. Did cops rush in and start shooting everyone inside the church? Not at all.
Some say we have freedom of religion here in the US, so we can go wherever we want, and worship however we want. While that is most certainly true, I wonder if we would draw closer to God if that freedom was stripped away. If we were forced to meet in secret to worship our risen Lord, would it mean more to us? If we didn’t have a big building to walk into twice a week, would we still want Jesus? Could we function without all of the programs, groups, or, dare I say, money?
Before you start yelling at me for saying Christians shouldn’t have money, let me say this. I don’t see anything wrong with Christians having money. When it starts ruling your life, that’s when there is a problem. Okay, enough on that.
For some people on the other side of the world, persecution is as much a way of life as driving to work is here for us. How do they know they will be persecuted? The same way we know it’s time to climb out of bed. The sun rises in the East. It’s that simple. They would find it odd if they weren’t persecuted for following Christ. Does that thought even enter our minds? We don’t walk out the door thinking “I wonder how I will suffer for Jesus today.”
I believe at some point, a time will come here in America when we will have to make a choice. We will have to draw a line in the sand and let the world know what side of that line we’re on. The kickball game is about to start, and there are many options waiting to be selected. There is comfort, security, and fame which we all know will do very well in this world. But there’s also humility, sacrifice, and pain, which will suck on this earth, but will build riches for us in Heaven.
When it’s time to pick players for my team, I’m looking at the One who defeated death and Hell, willingly sacrificed His life for me, lowered Himself to become human to be born in a filth infested manger, and loves me more than I could ever understand. Yeah, I want that guy.
Who do you pick?
Make sure to follow me on Twitter and/or Facebook by clicking on the appropriate link to the right. Thanks!
Have a blessed day