Living out the Christian life – following Jesus with a devoted heart – is a challenging journey! There are temptations, trials, risks of all kinds, and a determined adversary.
Jesus told his disciples, “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves! … Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake… You will be hated by all for my names sake… A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household.” (From Matthew 10:16-25) Apostle Paul reinforced this perspective to early Christians. He encouraged the disciples, urging them “to continue in the faith and saying that through many tribulations they would enter the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:22)
The reality is that the challenges Christians face in following Jesus in today’s world are real! Without “the Helper” – the constant presence and assistance of the Holy Spirit – the journey would be daunting and nearly impossible! But Jesus promised, “I am with you always, to the end of the age!” (Matthew 28:20) And again, “I will never leave you nor forsake you!” (Hebrews 13:5)
I admit I prefer a smooth journey – an easy road! I’m hate getting bogged down in congested traffic and having to negotiate dangerous and winding roads. Give me a freeway any day! I like controlled access highways, I choose the express lane, and love the concept of the European “autobahn!” But that is not the reality for the Christian journey now… That’s the promise of a future day – a wonderful day! I read about it this morning in my Bible during “coffee with the Lord”…
“Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees! Say to those who have an anxious heart, ‘Be strong; fear not! Behold your God will come…. He will come and save you! … And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it. It shall belong to those who walk on the way… No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there! And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away!” (From Isaiah 35:3-10)
Let me put it this way: I guess I’m willing to put up with some inconvenience now as long as the Lord is with me and the Holy Spirit is my Helper! And I’m look for the day that this present pathway through life that is challenging, turns into the super highway that He has created for us to travel for eternity! … How does the old gospel song put it? “It will be worth it all when we see Jesus!”