Fear of Hardship
I think every person has at least one fear in their life. I have my own set of fears that I am constantly battling, and attempting to trust God with. There is one fear that I feel the church is blind to, or is trying to ignore. That fear is of hardship.
Ever since the 80’s brought about the Word of Faith movement, Christians have been walking on eggshells trying to avoid what they think isn’t faith. They have strep throat, yet they go to church believing that they aren’t sick. Instead of growing in their faith, they have spread strep throat to the rest of the church. They are afraid to be honest about their trials, trying to bear up their load on their own. Yes, God is a great burden-bearer, but sometimes the body of Christ can be a big hug to those who are hurting.
Then in the 2000’s came the prosperity message that told Christians if they were obedient to God, then God would bless them with money and nice things. While I do believe that God blesses us, I don’t believe our focus should be on what we have or lack. It says in Matthew 5:45 that God rains on the just AND the unjust. In fact, Jesus told his disciples to sell all they had and give the money to the poor, and to only travel in ministry with the minimal amount of things that you need. Not many Christians do this. I certainly don’t to that extent.
I get on Facebook and on my newsfeed, every day, there are a lot of people who make posts full of fear about what might happen to them if the government does this, or if a certain sub-culture gets power, or if a certain law gets passed. This is where I want to make my point. I believe that this “new” doctrine of comfort and prosperity has caused the body of Christ to look for the wrong indicators in their lives to tell them if they are “right” with God. The only way to REALLY know if you are right with God is to spend time with Him in prayer and in the Word. While devotionals and books by other Christian leaders can be good, NOTHING is as walk-adjusting as reading the Bible and letting God work His truth in you.
If you dig into the Bible, you’ll see that Jesus said that the end times aren’t going to be easy. Jesus warned us that we will be persecuted, martyred, and hated. He said the earth will be filled with great wickedness. He told us that there will be crazy stuff happening in the environment. He prophesied that people who think they are Christians will be deceived by unsound doctrine, even those who did good works in His name. That’s pretty heavy, really. We have to know Him. We have to be solid in doctrine. We have to be lead by the Holy Spirit. It is NOTHING within ourselves that saves us, except for what God has given us. We are measly humans. He is great. 🙂
We shouldn’t be afraid of the darkness around us, but get determined to be a light in that darkness. We should be bold to proclaim His truth, but we often shrink back when we are called out for that very thing. We are afraid of the false shame that people put on us when we stand for righteousness. We are afraid of being uncomfortable, as the thought of losing our stuff haunts us. We sing about needing nothing, but Jesus. However, our lives and our words and actions seem to say the opposite of that.
Things will get hard at the end. We have to stop being afraid of hardship. Trust Him. Be bold.
“The wicked flee though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.”
– Proverbs 28:1