Being a Christian is hard- help your fellow believers
In 1 Peter 4:12-13, we read:
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial that has come upon you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed at the revelation of His glory.”
Have you ever been surprised when you expected something to be easy, but it turned out to be difficult? It has usually been this way in my life with putting together toys, swing-sets and other playthings for kids. I see these items put together online or out in front of a store, and I think to myself, “That won’t take very long.” Hours later, I am not even halfway through; I am at my wit’s end, completely exhausted; and when I do finally get finished, I notice that one of ladder rungs is upside down.
It can also be surprising when you are persecuted or must suffer for the name of Jesus. I love that God gave us 1 Peter 4:12-13. Peter assures us that it should not be surprising for Christians to have to suffer, and that we should rejoice or count it all as joy that we share in the sufferings of Christ. Unfortunately, most Christians are completely surprised.
They give up on running the race or stop doing what God has called them to do when they face suffering. Why? Because they have heard only “easy believism” sermons. They went to churches that only focused on the positives and none of the negatives.
They’ve only heard about God’s love and not His wrath. Or they have never truly read their Bibles, where even Jesus assures us that the world will hate us. We need to be giving a complete set of instructions to other Christians, especially new believers. If they think they will never suffer – and that the Christian life is only full of sunshine, puppies and rainbows – they will be in for a rude awakening when they meet persecution or God’s refining fire.
To illustrate this better than putting together kids’ toys, let me tell you about my first time playing high school football. I got started as a freshman and could not wait to play my first game, as I was told I would be finally playing “real” football.
As we ran onto the field, I seemed to take it all in: the lights, the noises, the smell of the grass, the band and how the whole town seemed to be at the game.
On the fiåst play of the game, I thought I was going to be a hero. I did not know that, as a defensive end, that when the play was coming at me, and the guy in front of me did not block me. That meant someone else was coming for me. I just saw the play coming at me, and knew I was going to make a tackle.
My six-foot-tall, 140-pound body came in contact with a sixfoot-three-inch, 225-pound full back. As I watched my horizontal shadow fly through the air, I actually thought in my head, “This is going to hurt” when I land. As I lay there with the breath knocked out of my lungs, I thought I was going to die.
Our All-State linebacker came over and picked me up with one arm, set me back down, slapped me upside the head, and said, “Welcome to high school football.”
My friends, we need to get out there and notice when we need to pick up fellow believers, dust them off and say, “Welcome to the Christian life.”
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