Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Is Your Christianity in Hiding?

Our ladies Bible class is studying the book of Romans and we have just begun chapter five. Yesterday, we discussed verse three (among other verses) where Paul says we are to glory in tribulations knowing they produce patience, character and hope. We then read from 2 Thes. 1:4-5. Here Paul says that the persecutions and tribulations these brethren suffered were "manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer."

Reading this verse made me begin to wonder; if one does not ever suffer persecutions or tribulations because of the cause of Christ, will he be counted worthy of the kingdom of God? Is that a prerequisite for Heaven? Jesus said, "...let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me." Bearing the cross carries with it the implication of suffering. 1 Pet. 4:14 declares, "If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you." Certainly, reproaches and tribulations for Christ's sake are not a bad thing.

We are so blessed to live in a country where it is not illegal to profess our Christianity (So Far) and we are not physically persecuted, by the government, for practicing our faith. Sometimes, however, I think some of us are so fearful of reprimand and reproach from our friends and relatives that we just make sure our Christianity doesn't show too much. As a result, we do not know what it means to suffer persecutions or tribulations for the cause of Christ.

Jesus said in Matt. 10:32-33, "Therefore, whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in Heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will deny before My Father who is in Heaven." If you continue reading in the verses immediately following, Christ warns that following Him can bring division and suffering.

Finally, Paul states in 2 Tim. 3:12, "Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution." He didn't say some or maybe--he said ALL and WILL. If we are not suffering persecutions and tribulations for the cause of Christ, we probably need to see if our Christianity is in hiding.

Dana Burk

No comments: