One of the hardest things to accept sometimes about choosing to follow Jesus and become a servant of Christ, is this idea that trials and tribulations will always accompany that decision. It can be difficult to accept that choosing truth and righteousness will actually bring us worldly pain and suffering. Jesus tells us very plainly that this is what we accept when we choose to follow him.
- In John 15:20, Jesus says, “A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.”
- In Matthew 5:11 He tells us, “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.”
I am thankful to live in a country where “persecution” is mostly referring to unkind words and disapproving looks. There are people all over the world who suffer things far worse than that to follow Jesus Christ. At the same time, no one likes to be persecuted in any sense of the word. I, for one, do not read the above passages of scripture and think, “I am so excited for people to persecute me and falsely say all kinds of evil against me!” However, I would say without a doubt that my relationship with Jesus is worth it.
When we choose to become a servant of Christ, we may lose the approval of some human beings, but what we gain is so much more valuable.
I was sitting on the couch today browsing around on the computer, and I came across something that reminded me of a time when God so obviously reached down and intervened in my life. Anyone who has experienced a moment like this knows exactly what I am talking about. It was one of those times where everything came together so perfectly, and in such a unique and personal way, that the odds of it being a coincidence were to astronomical to even consider. I absolutely treasure those moments when God’s presence and influence are so tangible.
I looked at my wife and said, “I just can’t imagine my life any more without these moments.” My relationship with Jesus completes my life in a way that nothing else ever could. It is worth a little bit of discomfort and worldly suffering.
Look at the promises that follow what Jesus said about pain and suffering:
- Matthew 5:12 says, “Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
- In 1 Peter 5:10 we read, “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”
In light of all this, I propose a question that I believe we all must ask ourselves with every decision we face. Are you seeking the approval of God or the approval of man? Is the choice you are making simply the one that avoids any worldly discomfort or confrontation? Or are you willing to make the choice that you know is 100% in line with the truth of God’s word, even if it might bring along with it some temporary discomfort and persecution?
One choice might make things easier in the short term, but will not bring you peace and joy in the long term. The other choice might have some hardships and trials attached to it, but in the end it will bring a peace and joy that transcend all understanding.
“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” – Galatians 1:10
When we choose to become servants of Christ, we may lose the approval of some human beings, but what we gain is so much more valuable.