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Why is life not easy for a christian?
|Created by Gerard de Vos|
Most of us know or have read about athletes who seriously compete in various national and international sports events. The Olympic Games, held every four years, carries special honors. What are the ingredients of success that athletes make use of? Strenuous exercise, mental discipline and correct eating habits are part of it. An army also uses discipline and hard work to form good soldiers. Successful capitalists work long hours, discipline themselves, take regular exercise (not all of them), and in general are devoted to achieving their goals.
In the world then we have a general recipe for success:
1) Hard work.
3) The right mindset.
4) Keeping the vessel that must accomplish the work, the body, in a good condition.
Can we compare this to the Bible?
What is the goal, the gold medal, the success here? It is obviously God’s eternal kingdom, with Him as King on the wonderful renewed earth, with no disease, retirement funds, tax forms, meals to prepare, funerals, divorces, murders, or thefts, but only peace - eternal peace. To translate that into monetary value is impossible. How do we compute the value of the renewed earth’s prime property of billions of hectares (the whole world will be indescribably wonderful, fertile and beautiful)? How do we compute millions of years of health, peace, et cetera in monetary value? When we start with such calculations, we begin to understand why it is such an important, worthwhile goal to strive for and why it is not an easy road to this valuable inheritance, of which we become a visible part on that day when we marry the Bridegroom, the Son of the richest Dad the world could ever know.
Why then are we so illogical in our thinking? We pay the price to achieve something in this world; we do not mind to endure the pain of becoming proficient in various sports; we spend the long hours exercising and discipline ourselves. When it comes to the Kingdom of God, we believe the old adage of ‘nothing comes from nothing’ is renewed and changed to ‘something very wonderful comes from doing nothing.’ We are wrong. God has the same principles. The world demonstrates challenges and goals. God does the same. The world expects us to give everything possible to achieve success, however success is defined. God expects the same, but there is a difference. He does not chuck out the losers, under achievers and feeble ones, but puts his Holy Spirit in them when they accept Jesus. By his Spirit He then gives them an equal chance to achieve success.
Christians seem to think that life should be without obstacles and going down hill all of the time. Do they forget about God’s process of sanctification? ‘Without holiness no one will see God’ (Hebrews 12:14b). Holiness means to get rid of those characteristics that will prevent a peaceful community in God’s eternal Kingdom. One may ask, ‘but didn’t Jesus rid us of our sins, when we accepted Him and doesn’t that mean that we are on our rosy, easy way to heaven?’ Unfortunately that is not true. God is constantly testing our hearts to see if we love Him? Do we love him enough to do what He wants and commands? Why would He want that? For one thing, the world is still controlled by the devil, and He warned us not to love the world, as everything in it will be destroyed. (Just by way of illustration: How do I know my spouse loves me? Just because he/she says it? Are deeds important to show love? Can what we think and feel be displayed in action? If I say I love her, but I refuse to wash the car, because she can do it herself; if I say I love him, but refuse to prepare food, because he can go to the supermarket; it would be hard to believe the words.) God tests us, because He doesn’t depend on our words, He wants to see our actions. Jesus said it is not enough to only call on Him, we must do what He says. And He says, that we should strive hard to enter the kingdom of God. With this He implies that after a million or two years in his Kingdom, it would be obvious to us how prophetic His words were.