So, if Christianity promises loss of self and persecution, why bother? Is faith even worth it at this cost?
The answer is a firm, flat-out NO! It isn’t worth it if you are looking for earthly payoff.
The dirty secret of Christianity (which is only secret and dirty today, but has been fairly common knowledge for most of the last 2,000 years of Church History) is that Christianity isn’t here to make your life better.
Let that sink in: Christianity does not exist to make your earthly life better.
Now, don’t get me wrong, it may indeed improve some areas of your earthly life–some relationships will improve because you know how to forgive and shut up, you may do better with money because the sin you quit costs a lot, you may improve in some ways, but again, Christianity does not exist to make your earthly life better.
Christianity may, and probably will, make your earthly life worse. More than likely your faith will cause more angst in your family than it cures. You will give more money away for no benefit to your own situation. You will get more enemies. You will get hurt when you show the love of Christ to others. You will suffer persecution.
Hebrews 11 is often called the “Hall of Faith.” It lists all sorts of people who did great things by faith. We love to talk about the human accomplishments of these believers, what is mostly ignored, however, is the suffering they went through to pull it off.
We love to talk about the great cloud of witnesses that went before us and lead the way for us to follow. “Let’s go do great things for Jesus too!” We cheer!
Many of these people were described as having “had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.”
We read the Bible and pay attention to the highlights, to the accomplishments, to the miracles and deliverances and we all but forget that these lives lasted a long time! There is much drudgery in faith. There is much sacrifice, loss, and pain.
They didn’t live for here; they lived for a better place far off. Being a Christian makes no earthly sense. We are “fools for Christ’s sake”–notice the context of this oft quoted phrase has to do with persecution!
Christianity does not exist to make your earthly life better.