Christianity is easy…
What does the religion of Christianity require of you (keyword: religion)?
You can claim your label of a Christian and never go to church. You can believe in Jesus and yet deny Him when it’s convenient. Who follows up on you? Who knows that sin you refuse to confess, and you keep secret? Who knows if you give your time, talent, and treasure back to God?
Out of the world religions I can think of, Christianity might have the easiest requirement. You say a prayer and get life everlasting? Sounds like a sweet deal to me…
When I was in retail management, I worked with many employees who thought the job was easy, they never stressed or took on extra work, never moved with urgency or asked to help others, and they were terrible employees. The job was only easy if you didn’t take it seriously.
It’s easy to label yourself something to make you feel good or be accepted in social circles and yet never actually live out the label you give yourself. Examples might be: I am an avid reader (I read one book a year), I’m a fitness buff (I never go to the gym or exercise), I love cooking (I never cook).
The word Christian is used by people who consider themselves spiritual, who have progressive ideas but still like some of the ideas of Christ (mostly the love verses). When I had Dr. George Barna on my podcast, “Everyday Discernment”, he said the word Christian is kind of like a spiritual Kleenex. Kleenex is a specific brand of tissue but many people ask for a Kleenex because it is so well known. People like to be considered a “Christian” without doing what the word implies, being a follower of Christ.
The word Christian is even used in culture to define decent actions. For example: They gave him a good Christian burial or such behavior isn’t Christian.
I want to be a Christian and have my best life now… so I’ll just ignore the verses of the Bible that say I’ll be persecuted and that the world will hate me.
It’s easy to be a Christian, it’s hard to be a disciple.
It’s hard to face discipline and die to your fleshly desires.
Many people like the idea of Jesus without ever having the desire to get to know Him.
Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matt 7:21). Who else would say “Lord, Lord” but someone who thinks they know Jesus?
Why would you want to spend eternity with someone that you don’t want to spend any time with today? That’s a serious question, not rhetorical.
Paul’s desire was to know Jesus, this is someone who wrote over half the New Testament and still wanted more. He was not content to be a Christian in name only (CINO?).
Paul said, “I want to know Christ- yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death” (Phil 3:10). Paul was not content with a title. Paul did not desire religion, he desired relationship.
How could you be good spouse to someone, yet you purposefully never saw them? Except on Christmas and Easter… You never called them or desired to know their heart. You wanted their bank account and security of the future without their intimacy.
Keep in mind, those reading this with a critical or religion spirit will go to salvation and say, “you’re being too harsh brother, just believe in Jesus and be saved.” Yet the demons believe and tremble the Bible says… I’m not discussing salvation, because that is up to the Lord. The Gospel is not works based but based on THE work that Jesus did on the cross. God can just as easily bring someone into the kingdom on their deathbed the same as those who have followed Him their entire life.
Our works, however, should be from the overflow of salvation. Once we receive the free gift of salvation, we start the long process of sanctification (the process of being made holy). If there is not fruit from your salvation, even major denominations will say you were never saved to begin with.
I do not want to assume I am saved; I want to know that I know that I know that I am saved. We CAN have this assurance. John said, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13).
And yet, the sad reality is not everyone who claims to be a Christian will make it to heaven.
If the parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25 is any indication, 50% of Christians (aka those awaiting their bridegroom) will not make it to the wedding feast.
Jesus said there would be persecution on the narrow road and few would find it, yet He also said, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matt 11:30). This seems like a contradiction, how could Jesus say the Christian life is easy and His burden is light when we are faced with trials, pain, sorrow, and the often daily struggle with our sin nature?
In fact, the verse before ‘my burden is light’, Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (v.28). This message implies that life will beat you up, Jesus never said following him was easy, far from it! Jesus said in this life you will be persecuted and that we would be hated. So once again, how is the yoke of Jesus easy?
When Jesus is referring to a yoke, the analogy might be lost on modern audiences. What is a yoke? A yoke is a bar or frame of wood by which two draft animals are joined at the head or neck in order to work effectively together. Two animals could get more accomplished when yoked together than they could individually.
There will be challenges in this life and there will always be a cost associated with being a true disciple of Christ. Yet, when we are yoked with Christ, connected with Him in Spirit, He does the work for us. When we try to do it on our own, we will fail in our flesh and weakness. We can rejoice in our weakness because through it, Jesus is glorified, and we are made strong in Him.
How do we rest in Christ? We realize we need to do things His way. We recognize our weakness not as a sign that we are not worthy but as a reminder that only He is worthy! We lay down our pride and flesh before the cross and put on the new nature of Christ…daily. This world is not our home and so the more comfortable we are, the more we are likely to be vulnerable to attack and doubt.
You cannot lose focus in a war, doing so might very well be death for you or your fellow soldiers.
Following Christ as a disciple is not about a checklist or being “good enough” (whatever that means). Being yoked with Christ and resting in the work He did on the cross leads us down a path of freedom. Free to be slaves of Christ. We are either slaves to sin (John 8:34) or slaves to Christ (1 Cor 7:22).
Galatians 5:1 says, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened by a yoke of slavery.”
There is that yoke word again. If we are yoked with Christ, we experience freedom and rest, if we are yoked with sin, we will experience burdens and bondage.
If you are simply content with the fact that you think your “get out of hell free” card is punched and ready, you are missing the beauty of why Jesus came. Jesus came to give life and life abundantly not just in eternity, but now as we live in Christ. Jesus is the strength for today and the hope of tomorrow. Get to know Jesus, really know Him. Let Him move you out of your comfort zone that seems so cozy but is actually causing you to be spiritually stale and stagnant. Many times, you don’t realize the freedom you are missing until you experience it!
Discerning Dad discerning-dad.com
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