Those in the selling profession learn to explain the features and sell the benefits of their products. We like to know how our lives are going to be better, easier, and our egos enhanced before we are convinced to buy. But, how eager would we be to accept something that would possibly make our lives harder, cause us to focus on others instead of ourselves, and maybe even cause us pain and suffering?
Paul had a pretty good life going for himself. He had studied under one of the greatest teachers of the law, and at an early age was being recognized for his zealousness for the faith. In the height of his career, he encountered Jesus. His conversion is pretty spectacular, but Jesus tells Ananias, “for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake.” This wasn’t hidden from him. In Philippians 3, Paul tells us that he suffered the loss of everything, but in hind sight, it was all rubbish anyway (v.8). He goes on to state that his desire is “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering, being conformed to His death;” (v.10).
In the Church today, we often “sell” the easy side of being a Christian. Who would want to join an organization that said you should look forward to suffering? Without knowing the whole story, these new believers see an easier life ahead. When the suffering side comes along, those who are weak in the faith, those seeds planted on rocky soil, leave quickly.
If you sign up to be a soldier, you don’t look forward to an easy life. You know going in that it will be hard. Your expectations are met at the beginning during basic training. It’s hard, and no one is told differently. These young men and women are broken and rebuilt into true soldiers. They come out of basic training changed; more confident, proud of what they can accomplish, and ready to take on the enemies of our country.
We don’t usually put new Christians through basic training, though it might not be a bad idea. In many cases, new believers accept Christ, are baptized, and then sent on their way to figure it out on their own. They are excited about their faith, but don’t know what they are to do with it. It is our responsibility and duty to come alongside them, giving them the direction and support they need to grow in their faith.
We are Christian soldiers, facing a battle each day. Make no mistake, it is a war. Imagine going into a war with no training. You probably wouldn’t last long, or would learn quickly what you needed to do to survive. Make sure you are prepared spiritually, mentally, and physically to be the best soldier you can be, and help others to be the same.