At the nursing home yesterday, one of the residents mentioned “losing his life” in order to follow Christ. It made me think of someone I knew in the past. The person heard the gospel, believed it, bought a bible, and began attending church. This person was part of a large, close knit Roman Catholic family. When the time came to speak Christ’s truth, and come against “generations” of religious false doctrine, the person’s faith failed. They continued to follow their family’s religion, stopped reading the bible, and forsook truth.
Someone else recently commented that in the country of their birth, a converted Roman Catholic could hide their newfound faith to a point. They could secretly stop praying to Mary, and no one would know. They could renounce graven images in their heart, and no one would know. But . . . if they had a child and refused to have it baptized, it would cause chaos in their family, and in their community.
Years ago a man spoke at a church I was attending. He believed Jesus was the Messiah. He was born again, and he was Jewish. His family disowned him. He ended up homeless on a park bench for a season.
A few years ago my husband and I met someone who was born again when he was a teenager. He came from a Muslim family. I don’t know all the details, but I do know that he incurred the wrath of his family when he was young, all because he became a follower of Jesus Christ. He became a Pastor, and still walks with the Lord these many years later.
If you decide to follow Jesus Christ, and your family is of a different “faith,” you will suffer. This is true whether your family is Roman Catholic, Muslim, Jewish, or any other “faith.” You will have a choice to make, because the natural consequence of truly following Christ will be losing the “life” you have in this world.
When the resident at the nursing home talked about losing his life in order to follow Christ, it made me think about how true that statement is. While this truth can certainly be applied to various situations, it is also true that our families can be a detriment to our souls. Our families are the very fabric and comfort of our lives. Our parents, our children, our brethren. Our lives are composed of holidays and holy days, and there are many traditions that make up family life. But when we are born again and become true followers of Jesus Christ we are called to separate from the “old way of doing things,” religious and otherwise. For the follower of Jesus Christ this is serious business, because there will be consequences to genuine faith.
Lose your life? Hard words? But then again, wouldn’t we be willing to give something up in order to receive something of much greater value? The thing is, how much do we really value Jesus Christ, the pearl of great price? Do we consider Him the treasure above all treasures? When we do not value Jesus Christ as we should, as our treasure and pearl of great price, it follows that we do not value our eternal souls. We may not think so, but that is exactly what we are doing.
Matthew 13:44 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.
Matthew 13:45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:
Matthew 13:46 Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.
Matthew 16:25-26 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?