The past week or so, we’ve been reading through Acts in the Eastridge Reading Plan. I love Acts. The stories of the growth of the early church are eye-opening and fascinating, even though I’ve read them many times. But this time, one particular verse stuck out to me.
In Acts 5, the apostles have been arrested, thrown in jail, sternly warned, and beaten — all for healing and preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Then Luke, the author, makes a fascinating statement:
The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.
Acts 5:41 (NIV)
Whoa. Worthy of suffering? These guys thought it was something special to go through hardship?
I don’t like to be inconvenienced or embarrassed. I push back and resist when I’m forced to go outside my comfort zone. When the expectations of my faith are ratcheted up, I kick and scream. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way.
I’m not one of those throw-the-American-Church-under-the-bus types…that’s just not how I operate. But, no matter how great your church is (and I’m proud of the people of Eastridge), let’s face it: we Christians in America have it easy compared to just about everyone else in the rest of the worldwide Church. We don’t really know what it means to suffer for our faith, unless you consider persecution by the media or at work to be “suffering.”
The fact of the matter is this: for those of us follow Jesus Christ, what we believe in should be such a big deal to us that we’re willing to pay any price for it. Not just to be inconvenienced. Not just to be uncomfortable. But to lose everything if need be. Even to die.
To truly follow Christ means to consider ourselves worthy to suffer. I want to dive that deeply into my faith. What about you?