I had a very unique conversation the other day with an extraordinary young man. He spoke of wanting to know Christ and the awful consequences of ‘gaining the whole world at the cost of forfeiting his own soul.’ It’s a unique conversation I rarely have for so many who claim to believe in God desire worldly power, delights, and position much more than the joy found in walking with Jesus.
Following Christ is costly to someone who willfully rejects Him; but to someone who understands the truth, believing in Jesus is the only option… even if it means losing your closest relationships, position, and wealth. Jesus said, “Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword (The Truth that will divide even the closest of relations as we freely choose to accept or reject it.)
If you (willfully reject The Truth) refusing to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine. If you cling to your life (and all your relationships), you will lose it; but if you give up your life ‘for me’(The Truth), you will find it.” (Matt 10:34, 38-39) Jesus goes on to encourage those who choose the truth by stating, “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell. What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows. Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven.” (Matt 10:28-33)
I don’t know what it is like to be rejected by my parents because of my faith in Jesus. I am fortunate that they are the ones who raised me with a love for Him. I did witness a friend’s mom have her excommunicated from the Catholic Church because she received Christ as her Savior, what a powerful testimony that was.
I probably will never know what it is like to be killed for my faith; but I do know what it’s like to be hated, lied about, and treated poorly for holding to the truth of His Word. To be honest, it is the white crosses and scars of those who have faced ‘the lions’ of this world and held to their faith, regardless of the consequences, that encourage me most. Those extraordinary believers who unashamedly speak of God’s love while threatened with flames, a swords edge, the sights of a gun, or the rejection of their parents.
In 1888 Prince Oscar of Sweden relinquished his royal title and right to succession in order to marry a commoner who had told him about The God who gave His only begotten Son so that whoever believed in Him and His completed work of salvation would not perish, but have eternal life. As he became active in Christian service he penned these extraordinary words, “I’d rather have Jesus than men’s applause; I’d rather be faithful to His dear cause; I’d rather have Jesus than worldwide fame; I’d rather be true to His holy name.”
I look forward to the day when His nail scarred hands lead me humbly into His presence and He calls me His child… what a day that will be!
“But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 10:33)
Praying 4 U
Written by David Brown: David Brown is a husband, father, grandfather, Pastor with a Masters of Religious Studies and a Professor of Philosophy and Comparative Religions. Dave is the Associate Pastor of Pemberton’s First Baptist Church. He is the author of two devotional books, “From a Chair by the Window.” And “#PrayerWinsThe Day”.
Think About This: “Repent of your small thoughts of God’s heart. Repent and let him love you.” ―