by J. Randal Matheny, editor
In some parts of the world, Christians die for the kingdom of God. Such sacrifice seems distant from our situation. But whether it be death or shame for being a Christian, the attempt to save ourselves is lethal from a spiritual point of view.
Jesus said, “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 16:25 NET).
One day, we may die physically for Christ. But every day we confront the choice of delivering ourselves up to him and exposing ourselves to the world for his cause.
When we shrink back from this choice, when we avoid rejection or ridicule for preaching Christ, we are trying to save our life. And we wind up losing it in the flight to safety.
We live today a false dream by thinking that happiness means the absence of pain. Perhaps the sign of our society is the aspirin or the painkiller. But Jesus tells us that the pain, the suffering of the Cross, the spending of self for him, are part and parcel of the Christian life.
Only when we are willing to suffer for the cause of Christ the shame the world heaps upon us — only then will be worthy of the Lord; only then will we receive the eternal inheritance, the heavenly habitation, where there is no crying, no pain, no death.
It is necessary, then, that we bear the momentary discomfort and the physical duress, in order to be renewed in our inner nature and prepared for the “eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Corinthians 4:17 NIV).
MORE FROM THE EDITOR: Today’s article was translated from the Portuguese. It confronts a tendency to avoid disagreements with others and to value a positive interaction with people, sometimes at the expense of truth. Christians shy away from presenting the gospel, thinking that it might offend or that others might reject them because of the message. The temptation is great, then, to water down the gospel and make it more acceptable — so that people may be left where they are, rather than be urged to change their life to conform to the will of God. This is a temptation we must resist at all costs.