Friday, May 20, 2016

Does it Cost to Follow Jesus


Does anybody still remember the horrifying news that happened  on April 14, 2014,when  members of Boko Haram , a radicalized and extremist Islamic group in Nigeria, attacked a girl's school in Chibok , Borno State in Nigeria. They kidnapped most of the students. Nearly 300 young girls abducted, 178 were members of  EYN ( Ekklesiyar Yan'uwa), a Churh of brethren group whose commitment to adult baptism and biblical nonresistence anchors them within the Anabaptist tradition.

What is Anabaptist?The term anabaptist was used to describe and define certain Reformation-era Christians who rejected infant baptism in favor of believer's baptism.

It is indeed heartbreaking. I still remember the night when hubs and I were watching The Bible ( History Channel), the episode was about Stephen.  He is one of the seven men chosen by the apostles to spread the ministry of the word of God. The Bible described Stephen as "full of God's grace and power, performed great wonders and signs among people ". He was stoned to death and stood with his belief in God's plan and Jesus's resurrection ( Read more on the book of Acts).

I thought wow, it is hard to follow Jesus. You will be persecuted, be judged and sometimes be mocked.



Proclaiming your Christian faith , up to this day is tough.  Our walk with the Lord is like a battleship. It requires your constant prayer and fight. When people observe that you are a lover of Christ and brazenly speak the truth in His name,often times they will look at your life as if they are looking into a magnifying glass. Scrutinizing every aspect, looking for any speck of dirt to throw at you. Sometimes, people will avoid you too because they believe that you have so much Jesus in your life. What people sometimes fail to know is that being a Christian doesn't mean that you are perfect and you are the only one worthy of Salvation. Being a Christian means needing a constant progression. Constantly seeking for God's guidance. Constantly moving forward with God's grace. Being  a follower of Christ will cost you..

1. Your conformity and need for material possessions.

As a follower of Jesus, you are called to not conform  to this world. (See Romans 12:2). You are called to live a humble life.

2. No earthly rewards.

 It is not one of those "following your master or boss" where you get free accommodations or free perks. On Luke 9:59-60 There were 3 that Jesus met while He was traveling with His disciples. One told Jesus that He wants to follow Him, Jesus replied  " Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head ". Was He discouraging the man to join his ministry? No, he wanted the man to be sure of what he is going to "sign up" for. He was saying the truth , that following him won't give you earthly rewards, no nice hotels or nice perks. Following him , is not an easy road and task.

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3.Relationships.

Going back to Luke 9:59-60 , the second man was asked by Jesus to be a follower. But he asked to bury his father first. What did Jesus reply " Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead! Your duty is to go and preach about the Kingdom of God."  Now, that's kinda harsh it isn't it?

See Matthew 10:37.  " If you love your father and mother more than you love me, you are not being worthy of being mine or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine ". That is tough right? Understand that Jesus is not telling you to neglect your family or to not love them. But when push comes to shove, you are called to put the Kingdom of the Lord first. You also have to understand the Jewish burial practices during this time, where there is a secondary burial that takes place a year after the first burial took place. This just shows that to follow Jesus, there is just no delay, it is urgent, a NOW calling. Not, hey Jesus how about a year later?
 
In Catholic faith, becoming a nun calls you to live a cloistered life. Her ministry and prayer life is centered within and around the monastery for the good of the world. ( source ) .

In Luke 9: 61-62 , the other man said, "I will follow you but first let me say good-bye to my family". Jesus replied, "Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God" Now, that is tough too right? Can't even say goodbye?  Jesus wants you to go for it! Don't look back,but answer His call. You've already "picked up the plow". Do you remember how Peter was called by Jesus to be fishers of men? Did he say.."Oh no , Jesus..look at all these fish..just wait until I'm done. No. He dropped his net. Together with James and John.


Are you discouraged to be a follower of Christ?  Don't be. Your reward is far greater than the earthly cost. Besides, while we are yet sinners did He not save us by dying on the cross?

BIBLE VERSES TO READ: 

Matthew 5:10-12
2 Timothy 2:3
Ephesians 6:12
2 Corinthians 10:3-5

For some men and women, it costs them everything to follow Jesus. They were ready to give witness to Christ in the face of death. From Stephen to the Nigerian Christians persecuted, these stories are found in this book , Bearing Witness. It will inspire you ..how great their faith and commitment to follow God's Kingdom. This book is a great reminder of what some Christians are faced with.


About the Book

    From the stoning of Stephen in the first-century Jerusalem to Nigerian Christians persecuted by Boko Haram in 2015, these stirring accounts will inspire greater faithfulness to the way of Jesus, reminding believers what costly discipleship looks like in any age.  Bearing witness brings together dozens of accounts from around the world of Christians who gave witness to their faith in the face of intense persecution, even if it costs them their lives.

In selecting stories for this book, the editors focused on Anabaptist martyrs and others who suffered for their commitment to believer’s baptism and nonviolence.
    Publisher: Plough Publishing House   
Category: Christianity/History
      240 pages   

About the editors:
Charles E. Moore has complied and edited several acclaimed books and Timothy Keiderling is a researcher for the Bearing Witness Stories Project.

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1 comment:

  1. That incident was such an awful tragedy. :( Thank you for sharing this encouragement in the face of difficulties for believers at #FridayFrivolity!

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