“Do we believe the reward found in Jesus is worth the risk of following him (pg 162)?”
Contrary to the false teachings of some self proclaimed preachers and prophets, the Christian life is not simply one of blessings, ease, health, prosperity and success.
In Matthew 10, Jesus proclaims that Christian living includes confronting:
- Evil spirits
- Diseases and Sickness
- Hatred on the account of Jesus (Persecution)
Christian living also includes:
- Preaching the gospel
- Healing the sick
- Working Miracles
- Driving out Demons
- Generous Giving
- Proceeding with Shrewdness (Wisdom and proper prospective)
- Proceeding with Innocence (virtue, purity, and blamelessness)
- Being on guard against those who will oppose us
- Speaking God’s Word
- Living a life without fear of mankind or what they can do to us
- Acknowledging Jesus before men
- Loving Jesus more than anything else
- Taking up our crosses to follow him (this requires continuous self-sacrifice, the giving up of our lives)
Christian living requires a complete reliance of faith in God by:
- Not hoarding gold and silver (or money)
- Trusting God to provide our daily needs
- Relying on each other in community
Careful study of these scripture reveals that the Christian life is filled with challenges. We will certainly confront people who have spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional needs. At times, our lives will be in danger.
We often fail to think about this, since we have been lulled into thinking that accepting Christ means that all will go well with us. That is not always the case; just look at the earthly life of Jesus and his disciples (all martyred), and the Apostle Paul for that matter. Our teaching and thought processes need to be transformed.
“We say things such as, ‘The safest place to be is in the center of God’s will.’ We think, If it’s dangerous, God must not be in it, If it’s risky, if it’s unsafe, if it’s costly, it must not be God’s will. But what if these factors are actually the criteria we determine something is God’s will? What if we began to look at the design of God as the most dangerous option before us? What if the center of God’s will is in reality the most unsafe place for us to be (pg 164-165)?”
Only by renewing our minds from our traditional way of thinking to a biblical thought processes, can we truly see risks as opportunities to glorify God and store up Heavenly rewards. The truth of Christianity is: as we become like Jesus, some people will be drawn to the Holy Spirit within us and will therefore be changed. Others will hate and persecute us for the same reason that the Jews hated, persecuted, denied, and killed Jesus; they know that they are condemned already.
“The language of Matthew 10 envisions Jesus as a military commander sending soldiers out on a mission. He summoned his disciples [that now includes all Christians], and then sent them out. In light of the needs before them and the danger around them, the disciples knew they were entering into battle (pg 169).”
We are commissioned for God’s mission. “Are we willing to obey the orders of Christ? Are we willing to be like him? Are we willing to risk our lives to go to great need and to great danger (pg 171)?” Make no doubt about it; it is a risk to give up our lives, and a reward to turn them over to Jesus.
Are you willing to give it up?
© Natasha S. Robinson 2011