It has never been completely easy to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. To be such is to be out of step with the rest of the world around you.
At certain times and in certain places, it is costly to the point of losing one’s life. Actually, this time in history is among the most severe in terms of persecution and martyrdom for the Christian faith. It is a rather daily event around the world.
At the same time, living in America has been likely the least dangerous place for Christians in the history of the church. The historic exceptionalism that marked the foundations and principles of this country have made it to be so, by God’s grace and for his glory.
Yet times are changing. There is a growing effort to not only reject the gospel message, but to also marginalize it as a heinous sort of intolerable intolerance. There is an effort in our culture to re-define the new normal. The new normal is that there is no objective truth, other than that it is certain that those who believe in objective truth and traditional Christian values are the freaks of society because they do not support the acceptance of “anything goes.”
Where is this heading? We don’t know for sure, but it is certain that these current times are more perilous than any other time any of us can remember. There are surely more difficult days ahead. It is going to be more difficult to stand for truth and live for God. Are you ready for that? Will you have your family ready for that? Are you/they counting the cost of discipleship?
Jesus said in our passage for examination … in Luke 14:
25 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. 27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
28 “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? 29 For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, 30 saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’
31 “Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32 If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. 33 In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.
Are you ready to count the cost? Can you give up everything?
Here is the final question for pondering / discussion – Week 2, Question 4 – Do you have any doubt that our culture, along with geo-political events, is all turning against Christian faith; and does this challenge your imagination as to what you, or your immediate generations following you may well face in terms of persecution?
I’m certainly monopolozing the comments …
When Jesus was about to die on the cross he made a comment that if people do such wicked things as kill him “when the wood is green, what will they do when it is dry?” Scripture quoted from memory.
Similarly, we are in good financial times (though sliding in the wrong direction) but the debt we continual to run up as a country is “unsustainable”. Each economic recovery is less of a recovery and I think I just saw reputable experts suggest that there is no more money left to borrow our way out of the next recession.
Predicting the future is uncertain, but there are many troubling possibilities that could affect this country. Economic chaos, power grid outage from a cyber attack, and other far more scary scenarios are clustering together … seeming more and more likely as people in our country are oblivious.
It might be good to read the short book of Habakkuk in the Old Testament. Habakkuk started the book lamenting the decline of Godliness and holiness and righteousness in his culture. Then God shocked him by revealing the immense destruction he was preparing against the Country. Then Habakkuk lamented the coming devastation. He foresaw days when their would be no food or money …
There is no doubt these are scary days we live in… and probably more scary than we even realize. Glad to be a person of faith in a sovereign God that is bigger than it all.