Thursday, August 23, 2007

Reasons To Quit Being a Christian

Peter wrote two letters that listed at least a dozen reasons why the Christians he was writing to would want to quit. These reasons apply today as well:
  • We live like refugees, like strangers in the world, scattered throughout the earth (I Peter 1:6)
  • We "suffer grief in all kinds of trials" (I Peter 1:6)
  • We are falsely accused, blamed for things we never did (I Peter 2:12)
  • We are subjected to brutal working conditions (I Peter 2:18-19)
  • We are punished for doing good (I Peter 3:13ff)
  • We are enticed to sin by those around us (I Peter 4:3)
  • We are abused and insulted when we won't join the sin of others (I Peter 4:4)
  • We are punished for following Jesus (I Peter 4:12)
  • We are harassed and threatened by the devil himself, who want to eat us alive (I Peter 5:8ff)
  • We are surrounded by false teachers trying to mislead us (2 Peter 2)
  • We are mocked by neighbors who find our faith naive and deluded (2 Peter 3:3ff)
  • We are disappointed with God, who seems to be slow in keeping His promises (2 Peter 3:9ff)
When I look at the list, I can say I have experienced a bit of everything listed there to some degree. Granted, I've never faced persecution from a government or feared death for my faith, but I have been ridiculed and mocked and often wonder why God is so slow in keeping His promises.

Peter understood, more than most, what being a Christian means and he wrote to those people to encourage them. He wrote to urge them to persevere.

Two PathsMark Buchanan, author of Hidden in Plain Sight, points out that following Jesus was not a great career move. It rarely enhances reputations or brings about new opportunities. It is not known to make anyone rich, or popular, or influential. It usually has the opposite effect and turns people into oddities and outsiders, "objects of ridicule, lightning rods of suspicion, targets of abuse."

It's fairly easy to wonder why anyone would even want to be a Christian. It's much easier to quit than to endure ridicule, slander and abuse. Why stick with something that is "wrecking your life?"

And then Peter says "persevere!"

Mark Buchanan makes this observation:
The most obvious and overlooked thing about perseverance is that it only makes sense if you're heading in the right direction. If you're not, you're a fool to persist. If you are, you're a fool to quit, no matter how hard the journey. If you have found the one road that leads to life, stay the course."
The Christian life can be grueling, but it is the only road to home. It is the only road with the eternal prize. It is the road to life. Choose Life!

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