September 13 I Thursday
2 Corinthians 6
“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” —John 16:33
On the night of Jesus’s arrest, He spoke intimately and comfortingly to His disciples. He would soon be leaving them, and He told them, “You will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy” (John 16:20).
For the most part, the world rejected Jesus, but two millennia later, Christianity is the world’s largest religion. Yet, while countless people claim to be Christians, some are not actually living in a right relationship with God, and there are many more who believe accepting Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour will lead to a trouble-free life. Hence, the Christian life is often talked about more like being in a holiday resort than in an army barracks. As Christians, there are many wonderful things available to us, but Scripture teaches the Christian life is more like being soldiers on a battlefield, which is why Jesus warns His disciples, “In this world you will have trouble.”
I once heard an analogy in which it was said much of evangelism today is like inviting people to go on a cruise. A luxurious ocean liner awaits; a beautiful white ship, romantic in its appeal, and with an exotic name like the “Caribbean Princess.” The ship is equipped with swimming pools, movie theatres, dance halls, activity rooms, boutiques and opulent dining facilities. There is fantastic food, all kinds of entertainment, spectacular sites and music to fit everyone’s taste, but the most fantastic feature is that it is free. People are invited, “Come and join the cruise!” In a heartbeat, they join, but when they get down to the docks, they do not see a great white ocean liner, but a huge grey one; no exotic name on the sides, but a number; no swimming pools, but guns propped on the deck and they discover they have been hoodwinked into joining the navy!
So what is the appeal of the Christian life? Having our sins forgiven and inheriting heaven are not the end of the Christian life but are consequences of it. The Christian life is a complete and utter surrender of our lives to the purposes of Jesus Christ. It is to know we are indwelt by His Spirit, empowered to stand in His strength regardless of trouble we face, and have all the resources of heaven available to us. It is to live with a divine agenda, personally coming to know and experience Christ as we work together with Him in a world that so desperately needs Him. Is it a glamourous life? Often not, but it will always be memorable, fulfilling and rewarding beyond all measure!
Prayer: Father God, though life surrendered to You often does not match what I expect, I thank You for the purpose, joy and fulfillment that comes from walking with You in all things.