There’s something they don’t tell you about this Christianity thing when you sign up.
I’m not saying it would be a deal-breaker if you knew about it on the front end, but I am saying we’d think longer and harder about declaring Christ to be not just our Savior but also our LORD – our Master, our Ruler, the One from Whom we will take our orders forevermore – if a seasoned believer took the time to share the secret only they can know while they were sharing the Gospel with us.
When we meet Christ for the first time, when we realize He is what we’ve been looking for our whole lives and that we need Him more than we’d ever known, we tend to focus on the benefits we will receive if we accept Him. Namely, Heaven.
And that’s definitely not something to gloss over. Heaven is a huge deal, and Christ’s getting us in is something we should thankfully reflect on regularly. It should soak into our bones and spur us on to unashamed devotion and obedience to Him.
But what most of us miss when we accept Christ is that we are choosing a hard road.
What’s so hard about a free pass to Heaven?
It’s not free.
And I don’t mean that in the it-cost-Christ-everything kind of way most people say it.
I mean that in the it-will-cost-US-everything kind of way.
John said it like this, “We know that we have come to know [Jesus] if we obey his commands. The man who says, ‘I know him,’ but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him… Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did,” (1 John 2:3, 4, 6).
Calm down there, John, buddy. Alls I want is a get-out-of-hell-free card.
And that’s all most of us think we’re getting when we choose to believe in Jesus.
But we get so much more! You’ve heard it said Christianity isn’t a religion, it’s a relationship, and as much as I hate tired catch phrases, it expresses the truth that there is give and take with Jesus if you want to call yourself “Christian”.
Jesus gave His life for us, and we are to give ours for Him. Not on a cross, hopefully, but in daily obedience to what He says.
Which is fine and dandy until He starts asking us to do some things we don’t want to do.
The truth? If you want to follow Christ, you have to be brave.
I am raising two little girls who are terrified of animals. They both scream and cry and climb me like a tree if they see a dog… the size of a tea cup… 100 yards away… on a leash. They have broken into hysterics upon seeing a dog WHILE WE WERE IN THE CAR. If we go to someone’s house, they choke up and make me go ahead of them to ask the people if they have a dog and if they have put it away. We can’t go for walks or ride bikes in our neighborhood because a dog – what if we see one?!
We have regular conversations, then, about courage and bravery and what that means. And I always underscore something for my daughters.
Bravery is not the absence of fear; it’s the willingness to do what is right even when you are scared out of your mind.
We cannot wait until we no longer feel afraid to act; we’ll never act.
My daughters cannot wait until the Lord supernaturally removes their fear of animals to go outside. Not to mention, there is something to be said for having a healthy fear of dogs they don’t know.
So it is with us. We cannot wait until the Lord takes away our fears of doing whatever it is He is asking us to do that makes us want to refuse to obey. We’d never get around to the obeying part. Which, thanks to our blunt friend, John, we know we must.
The Christian life is only for the brave.
I want to see you be brave.