Several high-profile discrimination cases around the world raise the question: Will 21st-century society honor the Christian’s conscience, or destroy the Christian’s livelihood?
“This [suffering] will be your opportunity to bear witness.” —Jesus (Luke 21:13)
Good luck building any Christian tribe on an invitation to suffer. Western Christians are, generally speaking, bad at suffering.
You can’t major in suffering at Bible college or seminary. Preachers are reticent to speak on it because people don’t want to hear about it.
God works through defeat.
Instead, we’d rather believe that faith is a stick and God is a piñata, and if we swing hard enough, health and wealth will come pouring down upon us.
We don’t want to hear that we have to “walk through the valley of the shadow of death,” and so we keep buying books and listening to teachers who promise to give us a map showing us how to walk around the valley of the shadow of death.
We don’t want to embrace suffering. We want to avoid it.
God’s will, we are wrongly told, involves blessing. Yet, we fail to accept that suffering for Jesus is a blessing.
Who or what we fear determines what we do and how we live. What are you fearful of? Rejection, criticism, mockery, conflict, hatred, loneliness, unemployment, poverty, a loss of status?
Pastor Doug Wilson once quipped:
“a great reformation and revival … will happen the same way the early Christians conquered Rome. Their program of conquest consisted largely of two elements—gospel preaching and being eaten by lions—a strategy that has not yet captured the imagination of the contemporary church.”
Thrown to the critics.
Today, we are more likely to get thrown to the critics rather than the lions.