I wanted to start this particular post by giving you the song “Blessings” by Laura’s Story (just click on the colored writing). In my opinion, it is one of the only ways, after you listen to this song, to expect what really lies ahead of you in the Christian walk.
Case in point, recently, I was challenged on a social media platform. For my cause was to promote the website, True Life Christianity, to get it more well known. In so doing, I came across this one particular individual who disagreed with the assessment that only through Jesus Christ, that Christ could offer hope, encouragement, and inspiration (1 Peter 2:21), which is the tag line under my site. It was the premise that he disagreed with-we have a choice-a choice whether or not to accept Christ with all of the promises that He gives in eternal life. Rather, only in this physical realm, we have to gain either eternal life or eternal pain or death (as we have a spiritual side as well as a physical side, although the physical, as we know it, only exists once). Through this physical life, Christians are not supposed to be surprised when we get mistreated over the name of Jesus Christ. Even Jesus Christ prayed it to His Father (I believe He prayed to His Father on many occasions-John 21:25), but it is only recorded once in John 17.
And everybody is subject to this-an eternity where we get to spend the rest of time with an Almighty God who graciously loves you and me, or get to spend an eternity with Satan and all his cronies, suffering for not choosing Christ, who came to die on that old, bloody, rugged cross only to be raised three days later (John 3:16-21).
Unfortunately, there are some who are going to ignore this message, and that is the product of free will. However, when I have to answer to Jesus, I will say I did to the best of my ability what the Lord Jesus Christ wants, and that is to proclaim His name through whatever means possible Thus, you have True Life Christianity, one of the means available on the internet to a by and large lost and dying world.
Well, during this debate on social media, he kept on using circular reasoning, claiming he was a Christian at one point in his life. He kept on circling back to why I wouldn’t believe him, that Jesus Christ wasn’t the Messiah, even claiming he was a cartoon character, that Judas Iscariot died for Him on that cross.
This particular individual went so far as to say the reason for the change in perspective was that he prayed to God to show him what the “truth” was. And he claimed that God showed him that He didn’t write or inspire anyone to write the books of the Bible (66 in all). Actually, I did not want to face that kind of blatant opposition, cause, I figured, it was pointless to save someone who is making an argument of the God I serve. However, after praying, I felt a nudge in my spirit telling me to challenge this man, so I did. Well, I did not know how much of challenge it would be.
Not a challenge causing me to doubt my beliefs. No. That is firm like the pressure to turn a piece of coal into a diamond, or like the pressure that Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (better known under their Babylonian names-Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego) faced when they would not bow down in front of a massive idol set in place by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon (Danial 3). I could just see it now. With the threat of being thrown into the fiery furnace looming over them, they chose to stand for God, even though they didn’t have the assurance that they would walk out of the fiery furnace without a piece of clothing that they had on smelling of smoke. Well, maybe I was not under that sort of pressure-the literal pressure of physical death-but there was pressure nonetheless. See, social pressure in the country of America can have devastating consequences. Consequences like that of you will look like a fool to the American public through our media, but I would rather be a fool for God than have the assurance of obtaining worldly wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:20-21). Social pressure in the country of America can almost seem as bad as your physical death. However, still pray for my witness to him, as he is not truly converted yet. Pray to God that I won’t falter in order to be true in what many Christians believe.
Yet I could falter, like this incident that happened in my life a few years ago at my general doctor’s visit. While I was waiting out in the lobby, a guy sitting across from me said something about the shirt I had. It was a red short-sleeve t-shirt I had on with the big letters “I’m A Believer” embolden on it, then little letters with “KUTLESS” on the bottom corner.
The guy who was waiting with me in the lobby to see the doctor said, “I’m a believer” too, referring to the old secular song by “The Monkeys” (a musical group in the latter half of the 20th Century). I was praying just a few minutes before I left for the doctor’s visit that God would somehow use my shirt as a starting point for a conversation which I might be able to share the Gospel. I just smiled fearing the social stigma that would come upon me if I were to explain the Gospel to him. I felt like it would hurt my credibility in front of other people who had a doctors appointment at that physicians’ practice. Suddenly, I felt like the Apostle Peter when he denied knowing Jesus three times (Matthew 26:69-75). After I got through with my general visit, everything was fine with me physically, but spiritually, I let the guy down that was in the lobby with me. Yet, I know given the right circumstances, I would do it again. Just like the Apostle Paul, we Christians who seem to do what is right can slip up when we are under our own sinful power. Once again, Praise God that He doesn’t hold it against us if we only ask for forgiveness purchased by Jesus Christ’s blood.
Yet, I wonder, “How can God love me?” I battle with this question day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute, even second by second. There is this song I would like you to listen to: “How Can It Be.” However, I find some comfort in this passage of Scripture: Romans 7:15-18. This passage of Scripture emphasizes that even the Apostle Paul battles with sin. For sin has no victory over the physical life of a believer as I would want you to take a look at a different passage of Scripture that deals with this one fact. It is found in Hebrews 12:1-4.
So, where do Christians receive the “Blessings” that God promises? I will tell you that going through the “hard stuff” with the Holy Spirit living inside you is a prerequisite to the most satisfying and eternal “Blessings.”
*In fact, there is an additional song I would like you to listen to; it is called “East To West” by Casting Crowns.
Author: Darren L. Beattie, BA, MSHS