I have often heard it said by some that it is too hard to be a Christian. That you have to give up too much of the “good life” in order to follow Christ. Typically they are looking at the “good life” in terms of the physical pleasures of this life with little regard for the spiritual strength, peace and joy that comes from the knowledge of Christ.
This opinion may have also come from looking at the rigours, machinations and complexities often passed off as worship in the Christian church. I recall a story that suggested the point of the many standing and kneeling, call and answer processes in some churches were there merely to identify outsiders or those who were not yet indoctrinated into that church. I am sure it was said with some humour attached, but it does raise some interesting questions.
Is it that hard to be a Christian? Also as Christians are we called to live a hard life?
I am certain that this perception of hardship is one spread by the enemies of Christ, so let us look at what the Bible says about this matter.
First, the basis of Christianity is faith and faith was God’s chosen method by which we come to him so that he would be accessible to all. You do not need to be highly skilled, educated, wealthy or talented in any particular way to be a Christian. You just have to believe.
Second, God is not seeking what you have but is seeking you. The Apostle Paul identified this principle in 2 Corinthians 12:14 saying that children should not lay up for parents but parents for their children. God is our Father so how much more applicable is this principle. He doesn’t want your possessions, money or anything else. He wants a relationship with you so that he can give you his abundant blessings.
Third, Jesus said in Matthew 11:30 that his yoke is easy and his burden is light. When you become yoked to the Lord it is easy because he is there to bear our burdens and to provide answers when we have none. By saying his burden is light he shows that it is not onerous or difficult to follow him.
Fourth, when Jesus was with Mary and Martha he gave a principle showing what was really important. Martha became stressed with much serving and thought her sister was being lazy just sitting at the feet of Jesus to listen to him. Martha said to Jesus, “Tell her (Mary) to help me.” But Jesus said, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42) The good portion Mary had chosen was to sit and listen to Jesus and this was the one thing that is needful. Jesus does not expect us to run around serving all the time but rather to spend time listening to him and learning. It is the listening and learning that will bring us to maturity.
Fifth, the Apostle Paul told us, “…in whatever state each was called, there let him remain with God.” (1 Corinthians 7:24) This certainly does not suggest a great degree of change in your life when called, except that we should be obedient to God. Beyond that we should remain pretty much as we were prior to our call but in obedience to God’s word.
None of the things above require great effort or energy on our part. None of the things the Lord requires of us requires us to change in any dramatic way, except where we are living lives full of sin. If we are truly following his ways then we will repent of those things in our past and seek his truth as we move forward. Change will naturally occur as we grow in Christ through the working of his Spirit in our lives.
Furthermore, as we strive towards maturity in Christ we are told that we are accepted as we are. Perfection is our aim but in Christ as we strive diligently forward he says, “For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what a man has, not according to what he has not.” (2 Corinthians 8:12)
So when anyone says it is too hard to be a Christian, remind them of these things. Sure there is hardship but there is also hardship for non-Christians and the Christian has the advantage of a loving God who does and will look after them.
I hope that you found something here to help you or add to your own knowledge. If you have any questions, then please feel free to contact me.