1. Why is it hard being a Christian?
Being a Christian is hard because it challenges you. Being a Christian is not for the faint of heart which means lacking the courage to face something difficult or dangerous.
(Romans 12:2- Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but be a new and different person with a fresh newness in all you do and think. Then you will learn from your own experience how His ways will really satisfy you.)
- Have to deny ourselves
- we don’t fit in
- will lose friends
- have to get rid of old habits
- We’ll be hated
- Have to preach the Gospel to people who are spiritually blind and think we're being judgmental
When we get saved we must unlearn to relearn and learning new things is not always easy. So many people give up because they were told being a Christian is just riches and prosperity, but there’s so much more to it. There’s ups and downs, trials, tribulations, dry seasons, etc.
Following Jesus means enduring. (Matthew 24:13- But the one who endures to the end will be saved.) There are two definitions of endure and both of them are relevant to our Christian walk. Endure means to suffer (something painful or difficult) patiently and it also means to remain in existence;last. No servant is above his master. Since Jesus suffered while on earth, we must have the same attitude that He did and be ready to suffer too. (2 Timothy 2:3- Take your share of suffering as a good soldier of Jesus Christ, just as I do;)
2 Timothy 2:12-13
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
(Romans 8:18- Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory He will give us later.) We will suffer as Christians, but it’s encouraging to know that God will be with us and what we face down here is nothing compared to the joys in heaven. Remember that there’s no sacrifice without suffering.
Following Jesus means counting the cost. Ask yourself, do I really want to do this? Once you make that decision to follow Jesus your life will drastically change, but if you’re putting it off remind yourself that tomorrow isn’t promised.
2. (Listen to the song below.) What stood out to you?
It’s important to count the cost before deciding to follow Jesus. Following Him means dying to ourselves. (John 3:30- He must increase, but I must decrease.)
I just finished reading a book called Radical by David Platt and one thing he wrote that stood out to me was “Jesus wasn’t interested in marketing Himself to the masses.” He literally told people things they didn’t want to hear.
Following Jesus means being fruitful. The fruits of the spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness gentleness and self-control.
In order to be fruitful we must be pruned. Prune means to trim by cutting away dead or overgrown branches or stems, especially to increase fruitfulness and growth. Every Christian will be pruned, it’s inevitable because bad trees can’t produce good fruit and before we got saved we were bad trees producing bad fruit. (Romans 7:5- When your old nature was still active, sinful desires were at work within you, making you want to do whatever God said not to and producing sinful deeds, the rotting fruit of death.) A fruitful tree produces good fruit. (Proverbs 11:30- The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.) When we’re in sin the fruit we produce is death and when we’re in Christ the fruit we produce is life because we can’t be fruitful apart from Him meaning we can’t display the fruits of the spirit without Jesus in our life.
One thing I’m constantly praying is “Lord rid me of anything’s that’s not like you.” Of course what God tells us isn’t always going to be what we want to hear, but we have to remember that God is molding us into the person He created us to be. We need to get rid of our old negative traits and habits and embrace our new life in Christ.
3. What did you get out of tonight’s lesson?