I have been wondering for some time if I am prepared to face the challenges of pursuing the Lord Jesus, and perhaps this is why I’ve been holding back. Oh, as a Jesus Freak— young, single and ‘care-free’—I was ready for the fast track to heaven: martyrdom. But as I got older, got married, had kids, and now grandkids, I have often wonder if this is still my passion….
Have I gone to the other extreme? Have I become too soft? Am I prepared to face the challenges that naturally come with pursuing the Lord Jesus? And I’m not talking about my own personal challenges, per se, but the challenges a life pursuing Jesus brings to others—you know, accusations of being “holier than thou,” the teasing from friends and family that we’re taking this ‘religious thing’ a little too seriously?
Back to that discussion I had had with Brother Andrew of Open Doors those many years ago. He also said to me during our talk, “Michael, Americans are not persecuted. They are intimidated….” He was referring to people thinking that they are suffering for Jesus because they cannot pray in schools, wear a cross at work, or are scoffed at by a neighbor….
Now, years later, as I reflect on his comments, I am forced to ask myself this question: “Have I joined in our culture’s intimidating assault, and helped them place a muzzle on me? On the church?” Have we muzzled ourselves by wincing at their shouting and barrage of insults? Am I really prepared to face the challenges that are presented when I passionately pursue the Lord Jesus? Is this why some do not as well?
I’d really appreciate your thoughts on this conversation….
Main Text: — Acts 4:3-4— 3 And they laid hands on them, and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening. 4 However, many of those who heard the word believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand. [NIV84]
Additional Scriptures to Renew Your Thoughts
In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. — 2 Timothy 3:12-13 (NIV84)
But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. — 1 Peter 3:15 (NIV84)
Finally, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.. — Galatians 6:17 (NIV84)
Heavenly Father, embolden me to share You with all I meet. Overcome my silly fears of intimidation and insults. Lord Jesus Christ, honor Yourself in my Life that others may know You, the One True and Only Hope. In Your Name, Amen.