Trying to be a devoted follower of Jesus of Nazareth is not easy. Christianity is not for anyone who wants an easy life. Christ on the last night of his life before he would be cruelly tortured to death said:
If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. John 15:18-20 NIV
The first century church’s members were willing and many times faced severe persecution because of their strong love for their leader, the living Christ/God. In so much of the overly industrialized wealthier parts of the world, the churches struggle because the love of the world has crept into the church too much. Some preachers even preach God just wants to give them prosperity and blessings. This is true. God does love people and want to bless us. However, he does expect a level of obedience and devotion from us even when it means picking up our crosses and following him. Christ says:
Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn
A man against his father,
A daughter against her mother
A daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law
A man’s enemies will be the member of his own household.
Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it. Matthew 10:34-39 NIV.
Here He is not saying to not love your family or neighbors but simply to put Him first. The first century churches knew how to do that. Their strong faith in the living Christ is what spread a small group starting in Jerusalem all around the Mediterranean until it has been spread around the world.
God wants to give us a much higher level of life, existence. Just to live in His presence is going to be so much higher, better than any level we could live on here in this world with the way it is now. We should make Christ our passion because we truly are His. He left the throne room of Heaven’s bliss and ecstasy to die on a cross for us. Won’t you get to know Him better today.
May you have a very blessed day and Praise God!!!