The Christian’s Calling
In Luke 9:57-58, the following exchange takes place: “As they were going along the road, someone said to him, ‘I will follow you wherever you go.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.’” Jesus is telling this man and His disciples afterward that following Him is not a life of ease and luxury. Life as a Christian can be downright hard sometimes, so He warns this man to expect that.
In the Parable of The Sower, Jesus explains: “As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away.” (Matt 13:20-21)The entire book of Hebrews is written to Christians on the verge of falling away because of persecutions.Paul warns Timothy “those who live godly lives … will be persecuted. (2 Tim 3:12) The church in Smyrna was told to be ready for suffering and tribulation. (Rev 2:10)
Peter’s statement is the strongest:“For you have been called for this purpose …” (NAS95) What purpose, Peter?“…Since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps.”We who follow Christ have been called to follow His example of suffering.Peter continues:“who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously…” Are we who claim to follow Christ willing to put our trust in God in times of suffering at the hands of evil men, or are we like Demas, who was “in love with this present world”? (2 Tim 4:10)
Peter says that suffering is beneficial:“In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Pet 1:6-7)Faith, tested by trials, is like refined gold.The dross is burned away, and what remains is pure and valuable.Also, our patient endurance of tribulation can have a profound effect on others.When our Lord was dying on the cross, the centurion and others watching came to the conclusion that “truly this was the Son of God!” (Matt 27:54)Who knows what effect we may have on others.(Matt 5:39-41)
We live in challenging times.Enemies of the cross want to rule the world and will kill every “infidel” who will not bow to their supposed god.If their desire comes true, are we willing to pay the ultimate cost, just as our Lord did?