Christianese 101: Following God

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—>Having regrets about following God?<—

 

It’s worth following God. No, really, it is. However, when preachers and evangelists tell others these things some forget to tell the full reality of following God. The truth is: it won’t always be pretty, sometimes you’ll be confused as to why God is allowing you to suffer through certain things, and sometimes—even most times–everything won’t be peaches and roses. See, with following God, there comes a cost. Jesus and the disciples were NOT afraid to tell these things to others. In fact, if you recount the fact that they often told people about the cost of following Jesus, especially before people began to follow, you cannot help but to admit the drawing power of God!

 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.  And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you,  saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’

“Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand?  If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace.  In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.”

Luke 14:25-33(NIV)

In today’s time, many seem to shrink back from telling the nitty gritty of following God. They focus on speaking only about the blessings that following God brings, in order to draw a crowd. But, did you know the apostles and Jesus never did that? No, they told the truth. So, it has been on my heart heavily lately that there are a number of people leaving Christianity because they simply either hadn’t counted the cost or were never told the cost of following Jesus. Of course if no one has ever told you, you will be shocked when you begin to suffer persecution. It will come as a surprise to you when you go through testing and trials. And most of all when your old ungodly relationships begin to fall apart, you might wonder: ‘Well dang God, what did I do to upset you, stab an angel on my way to my prayer room? I mean wow! My life feels wrecked!’ Sometimes you might begin to wonder where is the power of God in your life. Satan takes joy in making Christians, who are already victorious, feel powerless because he does not want us to walk in the power that has been given to us by God.

“Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.

So be happy when you are insulted for being a Christian, for then the glorious Spirit of God rests upon you. If you suffer, however, it must not be for murder, stealing, making trouble, or prying into other people’s affairs. But it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian. Praise God for the privilege of being called by his name! “

1 Peter 4:12-16(NLT)

However, despite the trials, the demonic attacks, and the pruning processes that you have to go through to be sanctified and renewed in your mind, I still have to say it is definitely worth it. There are plenty of good things about following God and if you are feeling regret for obeying God or making a choice where you thought you were following Him, I’m going to tell you that is just the enemy trying to trick you out of the will of God. Sometimes you can step out in faith and things will not go as smoothly as you thought they should have or in the exact way you thought they should have. Know that not only is obedience is better than sacrifice/and disobedience , but obedience tells us where our heart is towards Jesus, since those who obey His leading are the one’s who truly love Him and are His disciples.

You won’t always feel comfortable when following God. Sometimes you will have times where you endure being alone because you are set apart from the ways of the world. Sometimes you’ll encounter people who just don’t like you( Ohhh! The stories I have to tell about this one xD). I have experienced all these things and more throughout my entire lifetime of claiming to follow Christ, even when my relationship and understanding of the gospel wasn’t that deep. I remember when I was in high school and even middle school I would stand up for those who were powerless against a crowd or group of bullies. The funny thing about standing up for someone who is facing persecution is that they will not always stand with you. In high school, I remember a time I stood up for a girl who was being persecuted for the lifestyle of her parents, which she clearly had no control over. I tried to make peace with the group and though I hardly ever spoke at all when I was younger, so my standing up for the girl had the others in the group wonder about my morals and where I stood spiritually.

I shared about my religion, but when I told the girl that they were not her friends and had been viciously talking about her and her family behind her back, she retaliated against me and became angry towards me; the group leader, who was supposed to be this girls bff, also grew angry at me as well. She, the girl, still tried to suck up to them and stay under them. Look, I’m all for showing love for your enemies, but that’s just not what she was doing. Seeing she was a lost cause I took up my cross and left that group, who was my lunch group. I ended up sitting and eating lunch alone for a long time not really understanding why I got attacked for doing the right thing. After a while I found myself fasting for that girl every time lunch period came along. And though the girl never came around herself, the members in the group had come to me when my lunch has been transferred to another period and told me that they missed me and enjoyed my company and learning about my religion. They loved that I was not afraid to stand my ground and speak what I felt was right. I was stunned considering their reaction to my stance wasn’t kind or pleasant while I was trying to defend the girl. It was an odd opportunity to preach and looking back at it I now see it was the best opportunity God could have used to plant a seed of the gospel in a bunch of bullies.

Following God won’t be perfect. People will look at you like you’re crazy, especially if you are showering your enemies with true heartfelt love. They will talk about you and create rumors about you. And they just won’t always understand. But, know that they don’t need to understand because God has chosen you to follow Him and not them. God has chosen you to live out the gospel at your place of work or your school or even in your own home. You’ll lose friends, maybe even some family, and Satan will try his hardest to kill your reputation and witness, but it’s still worth it. God’s joy, protection, provision, love, and peace are all worth it. Heaven is definitely worth it. And yes, sometimes you will be blessed and rewarded while on earth for following God’s will over your own desires. Don’t let Satan trick you out of God’s will. Stop looking over the past and being filled with regrets over what you’ve been through and keep on following God.

Be blessed!

“I have thought deeply about all that goes on here under the sun, where people have the power to hurt each other. I have seen wicked people buried with honor. Yet they were the very ones who frequented the Temple and are now praised in the same city where they committed their crimes! This, too, is meaningless. When a crime is not punished quickly, people feel it is safe to do wrong. But even though a person sins a hundred times and still lives a long time, I know that those who fear God will be better off.

Ecclesiastes 8:9-12(NLT)

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