There’s a persistent misconception propagated by a certain segment of the church that coming to Christ will make our lives somehow better. This is a nice sentiment, and certainly a prima facie case can be made for its veracity.
There’s just one small problem:
It’s not true.
Jesus Himself said “In this world you shall have tribulation.” In other words, trouble. He promised us trouble. Not only this, but He also counsels us to “take up your cross, and follow me.” That doesn’t sound like much fun.
Elsewhere, we are told to “consider the cost,” “deny yourself,” and that we will be hated.
The fact is, Jesus never promised a best life now, but rather lives full of trouble, where we are often at odds with the world… and with ourselves. “The Spirit lusteth against the flesh, and the flesh against the Spirit.” Point is: being a Christian ain’t easy. In fact, it’s harder to believe than not to. It would be far easier to go along, to stop swimming against the stream–to surrender to the voices and vices clamoring for our attention.
But who else has the words of life?
To whom else may we turn?
Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. There’s no other. The world screams that this is too exclusive, and something in us wants to whisper consent: it is too exclusive–there’s got to be another way.
The late, great Chesterton said it best [regarding Christianity], “God and man made it, and it is making me.” And that is our problem: we don’t want to be made, or re-made. We’re just fine thank-you very much. Which proves how not fine we are.
And how much, loath we are to admit it, just how much we need Jesus. Which is just where He confronts us: right in that place of need. But we don’t want to need. We’re strong, independent… and full of pride.
Just what, I wonder, is easy about confronting the pride inside? Yet this is what Christ requires: this unflinching look within. It’s… painful to say the least. And pain is the one thing we instinctually withdraw from–because that instinct counsels self-preservation. Which is what Jesus says will kill us: “He that saves his life shall lose it, but he that loses his life for My sake and the Gospel shall find it.”
We, as Jesus did for us, must give up that one thing which is most precious to us: our one and only life.”
And it hurts.
And it frequently does not make this life better. Because Jesus didn’t die to make this life better, but rather to give us a new life–one filled with live, yes. But one marked with sacrifice, denial, pain.
Much like His was.
Have you consider the cost?