It’s a good thing that we Christians of today aren’t the Christians of the first century church– otherwise the whole Christian movement would never have lasted and spread throughout the world. People today don’t have what it takes to navigate the slightest of hardships or difficulties. Anything that isn’t easy or flat out gets “too hard” sends us packing. Persistent trials or even mild conflict in relationships—whether it be in marriage, family, on the job or in the church they attend—cause many people to just quit and give up. Never mind that we aren’t talking about getting thrown in prison, being beaten, having your children murdered or even giving up your very life.
We live in a day and age when everything is about easy. Our culture says if anything is difficult, you don’t have to do it– or even worse, that you can’t do it. Difficult has become synonymous with impossible. Husbands and wives can’t keep their marriage vows because it’s impossible to stay faithful. They divorce because their particular marital situation is impossible. They give up fighting for their marriage because they have issues and disagreements and it’s impossible to keep going.
Just because something is hard, doesn’t mean it is impossible—especially if you are a believer and have the power of the Holy Spirit living and working in you. While we have the most incredible help available to us through Christ, it doesn’t mean that everything about life or marriage is easy. The bible never promises easy. In fact, many times scripture tells us quite the opposite. Jesus himself said that we would have trouble in this life. Paul wrote that married people would experience trouble. And it doesn’t say we might have trouble or if we have trouble, rather when we have it. The Bible is very clear that we will not have a life of ease. One, because we live in a fallen world full of sin, and two, because life on easy street does nothing to create character or build faith.
Even the Lord Jesus himself underwent extreme trial, pain, harshness and adversity, yet somehow we modern believers think that we are immune from anything challenging or uncomfortable. As soon as it gets hard for us we say it’s too hard or impossible and play the “get-out of-difficulty-free” card. We act as if that exempts us from having to hang in, endure and do the right things. What we need today in the Church are more people who are willing to actually believe the Word of God when it says “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
We need to stop saying, “I can’t do it” or “It’s impossible”, just because something is hard or difficult. That’s what enduring and persevering are all about. Those believers in the early church knew that nothing was impossible. They knew they could endure all things and they were even willing to lay down their very lives in the most supreme sacrifice of all. Because of their endurance and willingness to sacrifice comfort and ease, the Gospel which they lived for spread throughout the world and as the bible says, “turned the world upside down.”
I hear people say things like, “I want to forgive, I’m trying to forgive, but I just can’t” or “I am trying to control this or that bad habit or behavior, but it’s impossible.” What they really mean is they want it to be easy and pain free and it’s not. Sometimes it is very difficult to do the right things but it can be done, even if it costs you something. Generally that something is self. Letting the selfish part of you die is very painful, very uncomfortable, yet very necessary. It’s in dying to self that we are conformed to the very image of Christ. And that is why adversity is good for us… even if it doesn’t feel good.
Imagine what we could do in our own marriages, homes, families and churches if we were willing to stick it out, toughen up, and do the right things no matter how painful, hard, or difficult they were. What would happen if modern day believers were to learn, memorize, and truly believe what the scriptures tell us about nothing being impossible for God? What if we took hold of the truth of His Word and embraced our troubles, knowing that we can do all things through His power? Surely, it would be a radical departure from the cultural norm of ease and excuses that we have been following. Today’s Church could again, turn the world upside down—or at the very least, our own families.