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Archive for the ‘Suffering’ Category

Most Pitied

A few weeks ago I was at the funeral of a Christian brother who died way too young. I rode to the cemetery with some close friends of his and of mine and we were talking about living the Christian life. I made the statement that if I live life this way and die, only to find out that there is no God, this life would still be worth it. The others heartily agreed.

This is a statement that I have believed for years and most of us probably would. Living the Christian life helps us avoid STDs and unplanned pregnancies by patiently waiting for marriage. It allows us to avoid hangovers and regretfully bad decisions by consuming alcohol in moderation (assuming legal age of course!) Indeed there are many blessings that come from obeying God’s word as all His commands are for our benefit. This has been my basis for making the statement that the Christian life is “worth it.”

A few weeks ago, the apostle Paul sternly rebuked my view of this life. His statement goes like this,

For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised…If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, then we are of all men most to be pitied.

Paul’s statement is pretty much the exact opposite of mine. Why would my life be worth it, but Paul says we are acting as fools if the dead are not raised? The reason is that Paul’s faith caused him to take risks and actually suffer for the sake of the gospel, rather than only enjoy the blessings. An honest assessment of my life shows very little, if any, suffering. This is not due to God just being nice to me, it is due to a serious lack of risk-taking in my faith. There should be an element of decision making in our lives that is simply foolish without Christ. It would do us all good to identify some activities (giving generously, sharing the gospel boldly (including the part about sin), missions, etc.) that would actually cause us to forsake some of our comforts.

Yet in all this, we must remember the words of our Savior,

Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times as much in this age and in the age to come.

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