“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
I had the idea to write about Convenient Jesus two weeks ago during the NFL season kickoff. I wrote it down but didn’t do much with it. 2Two weeks later after skipping church twice the message hits close to home for me so I figured it was time.
The church I go to averages around 300-400 people on a given Sunday. I am located in Washington State home of the 12th man. The first week of the season the Seahawks were playing a 10:00 AM game. 10:00 AM games are always rough for church. Combine that with the fact it was week 1 and that made it even rougher. Church was down 150 people from the previous week. 150, and it’s not like the previous week was Easter either. The previous week was Labor Day with people out of town for the three day weekend.
Whether we like it or not this is what are actions are saying.
I love going to church except for when the Seahawks are playing. I love Jesus so much except for when my friends want to go out drinking. I hate sin except if it is a sin I do all the time. I pray every night except for when I am tired. I would read my bible more except that I am super busy. I would give to the poor except I don’t make enough money. I would pay attention in church except I need to update my fantasy roster. I would be on fire for the Lord except…
We have turned Jesus into someone we go to and spend time with only when nothing else is going on. How many times have you read about Moses and laughed when they made a gold cow to worship instead of God? It is quite humorous to me. That is until I skip church to watch grown men play a game and spend more time on my fantasy team than I do in the bible. Then it’s not so funny. It’s actually depressing.
The reason we do all the above things is simple…
We don’t need Jesus.
Or at least we act like we don’t.
You hear stories in India where pastors are digging their own graves before they go out and preach knowing they could get killed in doing so. You also hear in India about a place where God is doing great things. How can we count it all joy when we endure trials if we never go through trials? We all have housing, clothing, food, and water. We have more right now than at any time in the history of the world. We have it all. Except for a REAL relationship with Jesus. The places where the Holy Spirit is doing the greatest work are also places where the Devil is trying to do is greatest work.
One of my favorites quotes is “I hope to live a life worthy of the devil noticing me and have him send a demon to try and stop me.”
I do have good news though. Being a Christian in America is getting tougher. Try being against homosexuality right, you will get some push back. Try saying you are waiting for marriage to have sex. Try not swearing regularly when everyone around you is. All of that is considered crazy. All of that is good news. It is joy.
When you lean into the Lord and you fight addiction, you fight sin, you fight unrighteous. Those are the times when you feel Him the most. Look at Job who was the most righteous man on earth. Read all he went through. Being a Christian is not supposed to be easy because when life is easy you start to feel like you don’t need Jesus.
Know what you believe in and take a stand. Go through struggles for being a Christian because that is when you will feel joy. Have so much hope and faith in the Lord that you choose him over everything else on a daily basis.
Deny yourself in order to find your true self.