Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Gospel For Which I Suffer

Have you figured out your belief system yet? I get to meet people every day who are without Jesus but who have a belief system. We may call it a philosophy for living or any number of things but it comes down to the belief by which you live your life. If you believe that "what goes around comes around" you will make sure that you are giving out good stuff to receive good stuff. If you believe that purpose is found in how many toys you buy in life, then your life will be up and down according to what you can afford. If you believe that Jesus Christ died so that you could have life then your life is going to be based on serving Jesus.

The problem is that what we believe is not always what we live. I hear that every day as well. I hear people rationalizing why it is okay to steal from the government. But if you believe in "what goes around comes around" then you should expect to suffer the consequences for theft. Funny how people aren't willing to take their believes that far. Unfortunately either are many Christians.

Paul wrote to Timothy :

"This is my gospel, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal." (2 Timothy 2:8-9)

Paul lived by the conviction and calling of the Holy Spirit. He preached what he was taught by the Spirit and he paid the price for it. He was beat, stoned, rejected, arrested and treated like "public enemy number one" by  Israel. But he wasn't surprised. Why would he be? Jesus told him this is exactly what would happen. He told us all. So why do we complain. In fact, why are we surprised? But that really isn't my question today.

Today I am asking why we don't live according to the belief we profess? Why don't we live by the example Jesus set for us? I don't mean the moral living but the Holy Spirit empowered life that Jesus showed us how to live. Yes, a life of grace, mercy and compassion but also a life filled with the power to see things happen. A life that will face whatever the cost in order to fulfill the belief that Jesus is truth.

"Deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow me."

We say it,we believe it but are we willing to live it beyond the suffering that it can provoke in our life? Christianity goes far beyond a code we live by and demands nothing less than our all, even if that all is the air we breathe. Anything less is not good enough. Jesus is not Gandhi. Jesus is not Buddha. He is not Mohammed. He is not a teacher of some philosophy or religion. Jesus is our life and we cannot deny that which gives us life. We stick with him no matter the cost because the life he has given is eternal. We could never bring ourselves to deny him, ever, for whatever reason.

There is a reason told us that if we are ashamed of him in front of men he will be ashamed of us in front of his Father. If we are ashamed of him it means we don't believe him. If we don't believe him why should we expect anything from him? Why would we expect to receive the promise of eternity with him? Yet, if we do believe him then our life should reflect that fact. Our life should be an example of faith, power and conviction.If our passion for him does not surpass the passion this world has for many things then we have not even begun to understand his love and our relationship with him.

So I ask you, is your belief enough to go all the way, no matter what it may cost? Understand, those are the followers Jesus will honour.

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