There’s an idea in the world that being a Christian is easy. I’m sure some well-meaning religious types came up with the concept, but the plain and simple truth is that the Christian life is difficult. But then, I suppose it depends on your perspective.
If, as a believer, you can’t grasp the fact that this world is temporary and that succeeding on Earth financially is a waste of time, this life will be difficult for you.
And I’m not talking about the other misconceptions about the Christian life . . . the ones where Christians can’t drink, can’t do drugs, can’t do this, can’t do that, can’t do the things that are bad for them, can’t choose to live their lives the way they want. Not true. There is nothing saying that a Christian can’t do anything. It’s more along the lines of should or shouldn’t. E.G. you can shoot yourself in the head, but you probably shouldn’t because it’s not good for your health.
No, what makes the Christian life truly difficult is the opposition we face. Once you sign on to be a follower of Christ, you immediately pick up an enemy who hates you more than anything. God created people in His image, and Satan hates everything to do with God. And since Satan can’t match God, he comes after us instead. Because the best way to hurt God is to damage our relationship with Him. And Satan has 10,000 years of practice doing just that.
It’s just fascinating to me that Christians don’t talk about this. That they expect new believers to come into the fold without knowing that spiritual warfare is going on around them. Yeah, it’s freaky to think about, but let’s get real here, people. The Bible says that what we can’t see is what’s real. It’s the things we see that will pass away.
The verse this morning is Matthew 7:13-14.
13 “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell[a] is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. 14 But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.
There’s only one way to have a relationship with God and that is through Jesus Christ. It’s not your good deeds. It’s not the clothes you wear. It’s not the prayers you pray. It’s not the priests you confess to. Jesus is the only way. The road to heaven is narrow but it’s not exclusive, although that’s what many people will tell you. It’s a road anyone can travel if you’re willing to choose it.
But Christians in our culture have given the misconception to the rest of the world that the road to heaven is wide and that the path is easy. So when people come to Christ, they are startled and discouraged when they meet opposition. Christians give the world the idea that all you have to do is follow Christ and your life will be easy, and that’s a lie. Most of the time, when you decide to follow Christ, your life gets much harder.
But here’s the irony of it: you hardly notice.
If you can keep your perspective straight, you can remember that Satan is the one coming after you, and all he can do is pick on you. And he even has to have God’s permission for that, and if God is allowing him that kind of access, there has to be a reason for it. Because there’s a reason for everything God does and allows.
So if being a Christian is so difficult, why choose it?
Well, to me, I can see that God is always moving. And I believe that God is bigger than my life and the lives of everyone on Earth. And I believe He’s big enough to see how all the pieces fit together; shoot, He’s the one who desgined the puzzle. And I believe that even though He may allow some trouble to come into my life, if I keep holding on to Him, He’ll work everything out. That’s how I’ve lived my life since I was seven years old, and it’s worked out pretty well so far. There have been bumps, though. Canyons. Valleys. Dark places. But there have also been mountain peaks and beautiful sunrises.
And when you get right down to it, do you really want an easy answer? Do you really want everything to just be given to you? Do you really want some religion, something Man came up with, to dictate every step of your life? Wouldn’t you rather be free? Wouldn’t you rather experience life to the fullest? I know I would. And to me, anything worth having was never given to me. It was something I had to seek. Or in this case, it was something that sought me that I chose to accept.
Being a real Christian is difficult. Living a Christian life is even more difficult than just being a Christian. But if you want to have joy and peace during the brief life we live on this shattered, broken ball of dirt we call home for now, it’s the only way that will last.