Whenever you decide to live radically committed to Christ and His call to win the lost, watch out! Immediately you will find well-meaning people rallying around you to help you stay “balanced.” They’re not your enemies—but your friends, your family members and your brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ.
These people are truly concerned about your welfare. They give you heartfelt council: “Don’t overdo it. Think about your future. What about your family? You have rights too. You will burn out. This can’t be God’s will for you. God never wants you to go overboard with this commitment. Think about your wife and children. You will regret it later.”
The hardest decision you will ever have to make is to firmly tell those who love you, “I have decided to follow Jesus. Today I have put my hand to the plow and cannot look back. I have determined to give my life for the more than 2 billion people who are unreached by the Gospel and are dying without Christ. Don’t hold me back or feel sorry for me. My heart is fixed. Don’t hold me back from pursuing the cross.”
Unless you make a firm stand to choose Christ over comfort, you will sooner or later end up on the sidelines. The temptation to give in is powerful because of the relationship and love that bind you to these well-meaning people. Jesus knew this very well. That’s why He told His disciples, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:26–27).
Why do so many of our Christian brothers and sisters try to persuade us to seek our own comfort instead of laying down our lives? I believe the reason stems from a basic misunderstanding—they don’t recognize that following Christ means to embrace the cross and, with it, death to our own self.
A careful study of Hebrews 11 reveals that everyone in the “hall of faith” paid a tremendously high price to be mentioned as our examples. Some left their countries, others high positions and riches. Many were persecuted, faced loneliness and rejection. A great number were beaten, killed, sawn apart, imprisoned or burned alive. Yes, God rescued some of them to demonstrate His power, but many of them died at the front lines in the battle. The Bible says the world was not worthy of them.
When we look at the disciples and many of the Christians down through the centuries, we see thousands who died as martyrs while others suffered severe persecution for their faith. Paul’s proof of his apostleship was not his “successes,” but the price he paid for preaching the Gospel. His account in 2 Corinthians 11:23–28 lists scourging, imprisonments, beatings, a stoning, shipwrecks and being betrayed by his own countrymen and false Christians. He could boldly say, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Corinthians 4:17).
If we want to be serious about taking the Gospel to the more than 2 billion unreached people of our generation and the 80,000 who die every day without Christ, then we must come back to this kind of Christianity. We must be determined at all cost to stay on the front lines until Jesus comes back. We must encourage one another daily to reject the temptation of choosing comfort over Christ. We must walk into the fire of battle with everything we have, paying the price as Jesus did.