As we prepare for another summer full of opportunities to spread the Good News, we’re also preparing our hearts to be pure and holy vessels for Christ. With this refinement we are reminded that our strength and endurance to pursue Christ comes graciously from our Heavenly Father, the one true provider of all things.
It can be hard to be a Christian in the broken world in which we live. We are often made fun of for our beliefs. We are doubted and our values are questions. Society says, “why would you exchange the pleasures of this world for something you can’t even see?”
Mark 13:13 even says, “You will be hated by all because of My name, but the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.”
Hated? Really? Who wants to be hated—especially in a culture of perpetually gaining “likes”? Because we live in a world that values instant gratification more than purity, the condition of your appearance more than the condition of your heart, and producing selfies more than producing the fruits of the Spirit, it can seem especially difficult to choose something as countercultural as our faith.
We Christians will always live at odds with the world, and that’s okay because we were not made for this world. We were made by and for the one true God to be forever in relationship with Him. It’s okay when we feel the dissonance that comes from saying “no” to what the world has to offer because we’re saying “yes” to the desires of His heart. When we exchange the external for eternal, we are reminded of the brokenness of this world, and with that our desperate need for Jesus.
Sometimes being Christian isn’t cool or fun or acceptable. In those times of doubt or feeling the weight of the world on our shoulders we must ask ourselves, “is our commitment to Jesus stronger than the influence of our peers?”
Scripture tells us endurance is key, but that endurance comes from the Holy Spirit. When we feel rejected or misunderstood, remember that Jesus has walked this path before us and did so with grace, mercy and love for those who persecuted Him. We must remember to be loving, joyful, kind, good, faithful and self-controlled when the world criticizes us because those are the characteristics of Christ in us. It may be hard to stand for our beliefs while the world stands against us, but Jesus is worth our endurance, pursuit and perseverance even when it’s hard. That’s what He did for us through his death on the cross.