Saturday, January 31, 2015

What does it really mean to be a Christian?

The thing I think many American Christians take for granted, is our freedoms here in this country. We are so blessed to be able to meet in our church buildings and homes, as well as openly share the good news
We can even meet in public places, without fear that the police, gestapo, or anyone else, could break in at any moment and arrest us.

No wonder we've become so comfortable! We've hidden away in our homes and churches, and have become like the culture in which we're living. 

But what does it really mean to be a Christian?
Answer:
And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
Luke 9:23



And some more examples from Scripture:
Matthew 5:10-12 
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

II Corinthians 4:17 
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;

II Corinthians 6:4 
but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities,

II Corinthians 8:2

How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.

II Corinthians 12:10 
For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Philippians 3:7-8
But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,

II Timothy 1:8
But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

II Timothy 2:3
Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

II Timothy 2:12
If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.

II Timothy 3:12
Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

II Timothy 4:5
Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;


This isn't even all of them! 
Deny Him before men, and He will deny you before His Father.

I read this recently here:
There are many people who say they want to follow Jesus. And that's good. But that commitment will be challenged. We must decide to follow Jesus-not because our best friend is, not because our boyfriend or girlfriend is, not because our parents are, but because we have chosen in our own heart of hearts to follow Christ.
Many of us can get caught up in the moment. It's like watching an Olympic medal ceremony. We see someone representing their nation standing up on that pedestal. As the gold medal is placed around the athlete's neck and the flag of his or her country is raised while the national anthem plays, we say, "I want to be an Olympic athlete. That's what I want to do." But do we realize the hours, days, months, and years these athletes dedicate to one competition?
We get excited about the medal ceremonies. But are we willing to go through the training? Are we willing to count the cost? Is our commitment to Him and Him alone? Are we willing to be real followers of Jesus?
So, what does it truly mean to follow Jesus Christ? 
Complete abandon. Full commitment. Denying of yourself. Taking up your cross daily and following Him.
-Elizabeth

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