As a witnessing tool Christians often give to-be converts God-candy to help persuade them to accept Christianity. The candy that Christians give away to get non-Christians to see their perspective is the positive promises that God makes to His children, the gifts of the hope, the love they want, and many of the other beautiful riches that being a follower of the footsteps of Christ ensures.
However, I can’t help but find this approach a bit deceptive. Following Jesus is not an easy trip. Jesus went places where dragons be. He went armed with a loving heart, the Words of his Father, with wisdom, and the Truth. Not with armor, not with an army of trained soldiers, not with weapons made from metal or stone or wood. Jesus said follow him and believe in him and who he was. But he did not promise us a pleasant easy life. He gave us a promise. The promise was not a promise of affluence and comfort. The promise was a place with him in eternity. But until then, every life that dare breathe will suffer.
Creation groans under a heavy burden, it has been yoked to load heavy with evil. The promise of Jesus is that he will endure with us, interceding for us. He sent the comforter to us. Why do we need a comforter except we be discomforted. Lion is against lamb. Creation has been set upon itself and consumes itself. When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, Jesus does not come down and build us a nice little house out of sugar-cubes. No, now we are no longer of the world. The world does not like that. In fact, we are at enmity with the world. Now we are in a wrestling match with a fallen world and with an evil ruler who still childishly throws a temper-tamper like child who knows that bedtime is coming yet still fights it. Only the devil is not a child, he is strong and he has many fallen angles with him. He enjoys the taste of tears and the sound of weeping!
So, promising could-be converts a paradise during war is not an honest representation of the assignment to follow Jesus. It would be better to speak of the glory and hope that is set before those who follow Jesus. I am not seeking to dissuade anyone from accepting or taking seat with God’s elect, I am simply pointing out that following Jesus is not a placid walk through a rose-garden. When Jesus was on Earth, he fought without relenting with those whose hearts were set on this world. God is not going to write you a billion dollar check and your life will not become perfect by taking making Jesus Lord. What will happen if you accept the mission to follow Jesus, is you will endure until you die or the coming age arrives.
But, there is rejoicing in the suffering! It seems impossible at first, but if you think of Jesus as the captain of an army and his followers as solders, then it is not such a stretch. Solders fight for an idea, a future, a better tomorrow at the cost of their life if need be. When we stand with Jesus not only do we stand now in this present time where there is pain, but more we stand in the hope of our future that is assured through Jesus the Lord. Today and tomorrow and all earthly days are short in comparison to forever once the world has been taken back from the adversary of life. I stand and rejoice in today, in the battles of today, in the suffering of today because it is not counted as anything compared to the invaluable depth of my assured future. And that future is worth all the pain in the world.
So, rather than offer potential converts a helping of heaven-on-earth, why not offer them the truth and tell them that there is an eternal trophy waiting if they endure the race and reach the finish line and then offer them a helping hand. After all, war with the world is fought with weapons of kindness, respect, service, love. Let’s go to war, let’s fight, let’s raise up our courage in God and fight until death has been defeated. Let’s join in arms against the present times and capture eternity.