I used to think Christianity was for cowards – a crutch to prop up the weak. Then I surrendered my life to Christ.
And learned how utterly clueless I was.
An authentic faith in Jesus is nothing to mess around with. Because it messes with you first. Many people become Christians because they believe it will somehow make their lives easier.
Blessed? For sure.
Easier? Not so much.
When you start digging in to God’s Word, allowing the Holy Spirit to work in your heart, it forces you (as it did me) to come face to face with your selfishness and depravity – and sprint the other way. You must allow God to completely transform your life, changing—or totally flipping—your beliefs, priorities, and behavior. You must stop caring about frivolous things and start caring about eternal things.
Authentic faith is not for the faint of heart. And it’s definitely not for cowards.
To prove the point, I have compiled but a small sampling from Scripture of what a life of faith in Christ entails. Christians are commanded to:
- Put God first, loving him with all our hearts, souls, and strength (Deut. 6:5).
- Love our neighbors as ourselves (Luke 10:27).
- Deny ourselves anything that would impede following Jesus in every aspect of living (Matt. 16:24).
- Carry a burden for the lost and make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:29). (A mere seven billion people across the world today. And I can’t even get my college friends who actually like me to listen to me about faith.)
- Sacrificially care for the needy and the downtrodden (Matt. 25:31-46).
- Expect suffering and persecution (2 Tim. 3:12) and even take joy in it (James 1:2).
- Continually confess our sins (1 John 1:9).
- Love, pray for, and do good to our enemies (Matt. 5:44; Prov. 25:21).
- Submit to all in authority over us (1 Peter 2:13-14), even those we don’t like or think might be unjust (1 Peter 2:19). (The Bible actually states that we are blessed when wrongly persecuted.)
The list goes on, but you get the idea.
So I ask: Could a coward execute a single command on this list (not to mention all of them all the time)? Heck, could a saint even come close? There’s a reason Jesus said to “count the cost” of becoming his disciple (Luke 14:28) and that people in his day found his teachings too bitter to swallow and abandoned him in droves (John 6:66).
I totally understand. I’m a coward by nature and could never follow the list of commands above.
But here’s the awesome part. In his amazing grace, God overrides my nature and replaces it with Christ’s. In my weakness, he makes me strong. In my cowardice, he makes me courageous. To live an authentic, transforming faith.
And he’ll do the same for anyone who comes to him through his son.
It is only apart from Christ that we are cowards.