Sometimes it sucks (it’s great) to be a Christ Follower….
The barna group (www.barna.org) recently posted a survey that found 1 out of 4 people would go to church if invited by a friend. While that does provide some positive news for the cause of Christ…it does provide us with some other stuff to chew on.
I assume this survey did not include wether or not the church in question was traditional, post-modern, contemporary, reformed, evangelistic, life-giving, pentacostal or non denominational or any of the crap christians like to fight and debate about. It simply says a friend’s invitation to church. It all comes back to relationships.
But what about the other 3 people. They aren’t just statistical data, they are friends. Friends, who despite your connection, either cannot see or understand your need for church or their need for a savior. There is tension in that statement that is real. It cannot be covered over by the draw of modern rock, slick banners, and designer jeans (all of which I am guilty of!)–they ain’t buyin’ it. It is a real life day to day struggle between your heart and your head. Somedays you want to serve them, somedays you want to just slap some sense into them, somedays you are an emotional wreck, and somedays you just want to give up. I want to give up….
And sometimes it gets even uglier…no matter what you may say or do, living out the Gospel will cause you to be labeled and despised by those you love the most. Labels like ‘Holier than thou’ or ‘Mr./Mrs. Perfect’ by refusing to dress like a slut and get wasted or not going with your buddies to the local strip club. Yes. sometimes being a Christ Follower sucks.
Christ experienced this, to a greater extent. He came to this world with compassionate salvation for all those who would call out to a savior. He was labeled a heretic, called names, and hated by much of the world. And in the end he accepted death as an innocent man, taking on all the sin of man…he was broken so that I may be fixed.
I cannot fix my firends but I can break. I find comfort in the fact that I can identify with my savior, all be it a much smaller scale. Despite the good news of the Gospel, it is foolishness to those who do not beleive.
Having unconditional love for a world that has potential to despise you is not a ‘sexy’ appeal but it is the life Jesus calls us to. It is not easy, Christianity is not a removal from this world but a plunge into its depth. I am a light in the darkness. I have purpose. I was made for something bigger than myself. Sometimes its great to be a Christ follower.
Your courage and unity will show them what they’re up against: defeat for them, victory for you—and both because of God. There’s far more to this life than trusting in Christ. There’s also suffering for him. And the suffering is as much a gift as the trusting. You’re involved in the same kind of struggle you saw me go through…