So, this post might be a bit controversial but is one that I have been thinking about a lot lately with some things that I have seen surface and the biggest one I am talking about would be the whole Victoria Osteen debacle. If you don’t know what I am talking about all you have to do is Google or YouTube, “Victoria Osteen and self worship” and it will pop up.
This is just one of the things that has gone a buzz on social media that got me fired up and “grinds my gears” so to speak. This is not a post about false teachers and the prosperity gospel, but if you would like to know my thoughts on this you can find them here. This, in a way, is a continuation to a post that I wrote called, “Cultural Christians Are Not Christians: You Shall Know Them By Their Fruits” (can be found here). I won’t go too much into detail on that post, you can go read it if you like, however I am reminded of that post and have felt urged to write about it more. In stating my beliefs and understanding of God’s Word and what it has to say on these matters, I have had people who claim to be brothers or sisters in Christ come to me and disagree with me saying that they don’t agree and that they think it all boils down to loving others, and even “as long as what they are doing isn’t affecting me then it’s between God and them.” Here is where I take issue with this, yes love is very important and all things we do are to be done in love. Do you know how I know this? The Word tells me so in 1 Corinthians 16:14, “Let all that you do be done in love.” So, I believe that all things should be done in regards to this verse and I do not believe we are to just lash out judgment and criticism. However, having said that I truly believe that when you are sharing the gospel with others it is vital to point them to the truth of repenting and turning from their ways and following Christ, This post is more directed towards a video I saw that drudges up the whole issue of homosexuality again and in the video he asks Christians to point us to where in the Word does it say, “homosexuality is a choice?” Well, my response to the post, and the woman I was discussing this with was this, “Ok so I watched and agreed the video he was speaking about was so sad and that kind of hatred, especially under the name as “Christianity” is horrible and I believe totally unbiblical. In regards to his questioning about what verse is there about it being a choice I don’t think there is any such verse, however I believe if you are a Christian and truly believe what you proclaim then there is a change in your heart and you will repent and turn from your behavior. I believe there is no such thing as an openly gay Christian, but I sure do believe there is such a thing as Christians who struggle with same sex attraction and for such reasons choose a life of celibacy.” I chose not to embed this video because it does have some strong language, if you really want to see it, you can click here. He shows a video within a video of a man coming out to his parents and things get very ugly (just some context to my response and the video I am discussing),
Side note: This sparked a discussion with the original poster/friend on Facebook and we ultimately agreed to disagree and ended on a good note.
So, the person who posted the video was saying how it is not our place to bring upon judgment and that it’s all in God’s timing and we should remain silent unless asked otherwise. I respectfully had to disagree and I feel like I can not, in good conscience remain silent on something that the Word refutes. But, that’s for another time, I promise I am getting to my point. So, in these discussions I have found that we live in a culture where we feel like we should not make others feel uncomfortable, where we should rather be tolerant and loving and if there is ever an opportunity to point them to the truth then they might say something. But, the overarching thought is to just remain silent on those things and just love. Well I was talking to a friend about all of this and I was expressing how I feel it is a disservice because I feel like it is our duty to share the full gospel and that people should have full disclosure of what Christianity means. That it means not just loving everyone, but rather it is a commitment to obedience and to the TRUTH. It means putting away selfish ambition and putting away the flesh. Yes, we will fail at times, and there is no one perfect, no not one. But, we are called to change and when we truly have changed then God has placed a desire in our hearts to change and to repent and to turn from sin. Only the Lord can change the heart of others, but I do feel we have an obligation to share not just the good parts of the gospel but it’s entirety. No where in the Bible does it promise us a “good” life. He promises us peace in life when we rest in Him, but He also promises persecution and suffering while we are here on earth. The good news in all of this? He sent His one and ONLY son down to earth to live a perfect life and to die on the Cross, bearing ALL of our sins and the wrath of God, so that we might have eternal life. Jesus, our Savior, did all the work. All He has called us to do is 3 things: Believe, REPENT, and Turn from our sins. I promised you 10 reasons why this is not the easy path. So here are my 10, Biblical reasons why Christianity is NOT the easy path.
1. Matthew 7:13-14
“ ‘Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.‘”
2. Matthew 19: 23-26
“ And Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.‘ When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.‘”
3. Mark 8:34-38
“And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.‘”
4. James 1: 2-4
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
5. 2 Corinthians 4:8-12
“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.“
6. 2 Timothy 3: 12-17
“Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.“
7. 1 Peter 4:12-13
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.”
8. Matthew 5:10
““Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.‘”
9. Psalms 1:1-6
“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.”
10. Psalm 119:49-51
“Remember your word to your servant, in which you have made me hope. This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life. The insolent utterly deride me, but I do not turn away from your law.”
There are more verses but this is a start, and I would encourage you to open up the Word and read more about what God’s Word says about what it means to take up our cross and live for Him. I want to leave you with a word of encouragement. In John 16:33 Jesus says, “‘ I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.’”
Our savior has overcome the world, and although following Him means that we will suffer and be persecuted and our views will not align with the World and we will not hold popular views and beliefs, it is OKAY because the Lord will give us peace and comfort and His Word encourages us through it all.