March 19

Text: Matthew 10:38, 39

"And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.  He who has found his life shall lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake shall find it.” (NASB)

Have you given this caution to your older children: “Do you realize what is involved in this decision?”  You are not saying, “Do not do it.”  You are saying that your child should have a clear understanding of what the decision entails.  You are saying, “If you make this decision, see it through because you accurately understand what is involved in your commitment.”

Sometimes we are so eager for others to become Christians that we do not hint at the commitment’s price.  We do not wish to discourage people, nor do we wish to deceive them.  While it is true that God supplies strength to endure, the person must be willing to endure.  The choice to be a Christian is not the choice to be a Christian when it is convenient, but the choice to be Christian—convenient or not!

Christians follow a physically abused, crucified Savior.  Peter was imprisoned more than once (Acts 4:1-3; 12:3, 4), the apostles were imprisoned (Acts 5:18), and Paul was imprisoned (Acts 16:22, 23).  The apostle James (Acts 12:1, 2) and the Christian Stephen (Acts 7:60 and 8:2) were killed.  There were physical suffering, persecution, and martyrs.  All of that occurred because people believed in the resurrected Jesus Christ.  Read 2 Corinthians 11:23-33 recently?

When we consider those things, does it seem that Christianity began over two thousand years ago to provide today’s Christian with convenience?  Yes, forgiveness, grace, mercy, God’s influence, God’s strength, internal peace, the promise of being more than equal to challenges, and the hope for enduring blessings to come are real!  However, in this physical world, so is the opposition of evil!

Suggestion for reflection: To you, what is involved in being a Christian?  (Read Ephesians 6:10-17.)

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