Whatever makes you happy, right? . . . Wrong. Think about what that statement is really saying. Should happiness be our priority in life? What if my happiness infringes upon someone else’s rights? Or, what if the thing that makes me happy is contrary to God’s Word? . . . What then?
Christianity is not about pleasing ourselves but about pleasing the Lord. Consider Jesus’s words to His disciples, “. . . The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day. And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away? For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels” (Luke 9:22-26, KJV). This certainly does not sound like a life of ease but one of hardship and of self-denial.
Examine the lives of the men and women who have gone before us in the faith (Note a sampling in the list below). Those who have run well have experienced great hardship, adversity, tests, and trials. It’s not a strange thing, it’s the life of a Christian. “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified” (1 Peter 4:12-14). As followers of Christ, we are called to walk in His footsteps. He suffered, and so must we.
- Paul the Apostle
- The twelve Apostles
- Adoniram and Nancy Judson
- Amy Carmichael
- Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand
- Jim and Elisabeth Elliot
To be honest, I don’t wish to suffer and yet I wish to be pleasing to the Lord, I wish to grow in Christ, and I wish to be a faithful servant. If suffering is how this is accomplished in my life and in yours, then let us ask God to give us the grace to suffer well for His name’s sake. Let us ask God to fill us with His peace that passes all understanding (Phil. 4:7). Let us ask God to give us His love and joy! For a life of true surrender and service to Him is not a sad one but a radiant and joyful one; it is the life of a Christian.
We are not here to play, to dream, to drift;
We have hard work to do and loads to lift;
Shun not the struggle, face it, ’tis God’s gift.
Say not the days are evil— who’s to blame?
And fold the hands and acquiesce— O shame!
Stand up, speak out, and bravely, in God’s Name.
– Maltbie D. Babcock