Jesus wasn’t joking when He said, “In this world you will have troubles.” So often we think that the age we are living in is the most challenging for Christians ever. But it seems to me that around the time of Jesus’ first coming was pretty bad too. So, we need to prepare ourselves for tough times ahead as we move towards Jesus coming again. I can’t watch a movie without “God” or “Jesus Christ” being used in the wrong context. Even songs that are played on commercial radio include lyrics like “God is my objection” “Oh my God” and “God is a woman”. I hear Jesus Christ mentioned more often in random conversations on the train and in coffee shops, than He gets mentioned in most churches. (And that’s a bad thing in both cases)
Isn’t it bizarre that people can use any name or word in their sentences, movies and songs; yet they choose to use the name of my Saviour. I mean… it could just as well be “Oh my Moses”. Why don’t people just say, “Huckleberry Finn – what are you on about!” It’s almost as if they are acknowledging His existence by having to use His name. I get the idea that God, thousands of years ago, knew this was going to happen when He mentioned it in 1 of the 10 commandments.
Sometimes, for us Christians who live in free countries where we can worship God without persecution, we feel that we have it tough. The fact that people ridicule you because of your faith in Christ is normal, it’s not having it tough. I once taught a lesson at a “Christian School” to a Grade 2 class about The Prodigal Son. The principal and chaplain told me that I can’t tell people that they are sinners because they might tell their parents and they might be offended that their children have been labelled as sinners. The Gospel is offensive and that makes us defensive. But we have no defence for the fact that we are sinners. That is the reason we need a Saviour. It’s almost like someone needs to admit that they have an addiction problem before we will admit we need help. In the same way, if we don’t accept the fact that we are all sinners, we won’t see the need for a Saviour. “And how will they know if somebody doesn’t tell them?” You and I need to tell them – but be ready for opposition. Be ready for the walls of defence to spring up.
The more we have, the more comfortable our lives are! The more comfortable we are, the less we tend to think that we need a Saviour. That is why so many Christians in 1st world countries fall apart when they are inconvenienced in the smallest why. We haven’t really put our faith into practice because we never really needed to. I remember the true story of a pastor of a beautiful small parish in an idyllic little hamlet in the English countryside. He felt the called to serve at a church in a war-torn country. He experienced armed men running into Bible studies and worship services, killing people because of their faith. He experienced the terrible suffering of Christians. When an opportunity arose for him to return to his peaceful, comfortable parish, he turned it down. “Why?” someone asked him. “Because this is where I need to put my faith in God! This is where I need to practice what I preach! This is where Christianity is real?”
A pastor of a very poor African church met up with a pastor of an affluent mega church at a conference. After sharing many stories and becoming good friends, the pastor of the big church said to his friend, “I will pray for you and your poverty-stricken church.” The other pastor replied, “I think you need more prayer in your prosperity church.”
Wherever we are as Christians, nothing should scare us or make us freak out because “When the going gets tough, the Christians keep going!” Why, you might ask. Well, because our hope is on The Rock that cannot be shaken!”