Since the day you were saved, the day that the Holy Spirit came into your life, how many days have you spent in leisure and how many days holding onto the rigging of the mast in the stormy seas? “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” (John 15:11) “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.” (Matt. 10:34) The days of the storms, did you still have joy, or did you question His protection, the days of sunshine and relaxation, did you experience the sword, how much persecution for the name of Jesus has been wrought in you, or are those moments rare and undesirable.
There are far too many Christians today who shy away from any possible persecution for Christ, they have no desire to be in the fellowship of His suffering, and that suffering to most of them means nothing more than being inconvenienced for a very short time. Most that you may question on the reason that the Lord said to Ananias about Paul, “For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake,” (Acts 9:16) would say the reason that He did so was because of the horrendous way that Paul treated the followers of the Way before his conversion on the road to Damascus. It is where many false churches get their doctrines of works and the insecurity of the assurance of their salvation, saying that Paul had to spend the rest of his life paying “penance,” if you will.
Just exactly how these entities explain the fact that all who come to Christ in true repentance have every past sin cast as far away as the east is from the west, (Ps. 103:12) totally forgiven and forgotten by the Lord makes for interesting conversation to say the least, for they will fumble for words and use traditions and “new” revelations to try to uphold their ideologies.
Why the twenty plus years of pain and persecution for Paul, why the same amount of time for Jeremiah, and for so many of the prophets, apostles, and others in the Scripture? For one reason, to show us by example that without much suffering none will enter into the kingdom of God. (Acts 14:22) So then my friends, what has the balance in your life been for Christ, has He called you to suffer and like Jonah you have fled, have you fallen for the subtle lies of Satan, which should have been clearly seen by you since about day one, that a life of leisure and pleasure, happiness and relative ease is what the Lord wants for His children here? What happened to the desire to emulate our Lord, why the nice house, the carefree existence, why all the items of the world, why are you not suffering as our Lord suffered.
The answer is quite simple, because we do not want to, we want a carefree existence, we just want to show up to church, feel better about ourselves, and then get on with all those pursuits of life. We want to be enabled, we do not want to be inconvenienced, trials and tribulations means suffering and sorrow, we want happiness here and then even more joy and happiness in the kingdom, we do not even want the pastor to use the words of Scripture to convict us, and if he does, only in ways that are optional for us, nothing that demands us to serve as we know we should.
This is why most outreaches in many churches reach no further than the fellowship hall of the church, or at best are mentioned in the meetings on how much to give the missionaries they support, those out in the field, those that are suffering for the name of Christ and the glory of God.
The first love lost is the love that desires to serve fully, the last one held firmly onto is the love of self, such is the great falling away, (2 Thess. 2:3) and we are right in the middle of it.
If most are not even studying the Scriptures on a daily basis, if the majority are not witnessing to the lost on a regular basis, what makes us think that suffering for Christ is something that they would look forward to and rejoice in. The moniker of “Christian” seems to be a very easy title to obtain these days. “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations.” (James 1:2)