All this month, we’ve been discussing the persecuted church.
As I sit here in my air conditioned home, typing on my Mac about faith and Jesus without any fear of attack, I’m convicted about just how easy I have it.
I’ve never been threatened with physical harm because of my faith in Jesus.
I’ve never hidden my Bible from authorities or sent inconspicuous letters to friends and family because I can’t be too specific about my location.
Other believers across the world do these things. Their lives are in danger daily because of their faith. Their families are threatened and killed. Some of them have watched their children being tortured right in front of them.
They are the persecuted church.
Me, I’m a believer who has it easy.
Persecution to me looks a lot less like persecution and a lot more like an inconvenience.
Sure, some of us might be ridiculed for our faith. We might lose a few friends. Our families might not support our desire to go to church or be involved in a faith community. Our job could possibly be in danger. (And don’t get me wrong. These are hard things too!) But that’s about it.
Most of us living in the land of the free don’t deal with persecution that much.
And sometimes I wonder if that’s as much of a blessing as we often believe.
Maybe it’s not such a great thing that we have it so easy. Here are a few possible problems with the easy, never-persecuted life:
1. Easy lives don’t make us grow.
Do you know what happens when someone stops using their muscles? When I was in high school, I had a foot injury that forced me to walk on crutches for about 7 weeks. At the end of the 7 weeks, my calf muscle on my injured leg was almost non-existent.
When we don’t use our muscles, we lose them. On the other hand, when we stretch and strain them, they grow stronger.
It’s the same way with our faith. When our lives are easy, our faith is never challenged. It’s never strained or stretched. Persecution can make a person grow stronger in their faith much like exercise makes a person’s muscles stronger.
2. Easy lives might mean we’re not all that different than the world.
Is it possible we’re not persecuted because we don’t appear all that different than the world around us?
Is it possible the reason we fail to be ridiculed for our faith is because our peers don’t see it in our lives?
3. Easy lives might mean we’re too disconnected from the world.
I am thankful I have freedom to worship as I please, but the Bible is clear that those of the world will not like my faith in Jesus.
So if no one has any problems with my faith, then maybe my circle isn’t wide enough. Maybe I’m not around enough people who don’t share my belief in Jesus.
I can’t change the world if I’m never in it.
What do you think? Can you think of any other dangers to the easy life?
*Photo courtesy: Foreman Photography