Count the Cost of Faith
Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted . . . 2 Timothy 3:12-13
Throughout my life, I’ve often been a little too preoccupied with what others think of me. In reference to my faith, I believe in God, and I want to follow him, but I’d prefer that it doesn’t make me weird. Like a lot of us, I just want to fit in. In the disastrous consequences of my drug addiction, I went to God, asking him what I must do to change. He told me that I needed to do whatever it took daily, to abandon my way to follow him. I needed to radically embrace my faith.
My one objection to God’s plan? I didn’t want to become a religious nut. I just wanted to be a respectable physician of whom others thought highly. God pointed out that at that time, my reputation was that of a drug addict. Given the decision between drug addict and religious nut, the choice became much clearer. So, I made the only reasonable decision I could. I don’t do it perfectly, but I daily attempt to abandon my way for God’s way. I daily read, pray, and I write. I publish this blog and I wrote a book proclaiming that my way is a disaster and that God’s way is life.
I’m sure I don’t know the whole of it, but I’m also pretty sure there are those out there who look at me and shake their heads. Wow, he got weird. I’m glad he’s sober, but he really turned into a Jesus freak. Religion is great and all, but maybe tone it down just a bit . . . We’re fortunate enough to live in an environment where few people are openly hostile to our faith, but as Paul pointed out in today’s passage, our faith is always going to be contrary to the world. In the passage, Paul said that anyone who follows God is eventually going to meet with opposition.
We don’t like to hear this. We would much prefer that faith means worldly success. We want God to provide us with health, wealth, and popularity. Paul’s words suggest almost the exact opposite. Faith in God is always going to stand in opposition to the world and when we truly practice faith, we’re always going to look weird to others. Paul’s words are a reminder that we must count the cost of true faith.
Like me in my addiction though, the only alternative is to live like the world, following ourselves. As we realize what a disaster that is, we’ll also realize that the reward of following God – a life of joy and peace – far outweighs any cost.