There is a common belief among the believers of Jesus that following Jesus’ teaching is a difficult task. Many people accept difficulties as part of a believer’s life and think that the more they suffer in this world, the greater will their reward be in heaven. Many elders teach others that following or serving Jesus is a path full of thorns. While believers themselves think that the sufferings are mandatory for a follower of Jesus, the non-believers accuse their kith and kin who choose to follow Jesus as the cause for the problems they face in their lives.
To understand the truth, one should not rely on these false approaches but know that all people have one or the other issue. Everyone in this world suffers from sickness, faces temptations, indulges in various addictions, and encounters all kinds of challenges. When the whole world goes through the same path, attributing difficulties only to the followers of Jesus is irrational.
The scripture describes problems as a common issue for all people. It encourages the believers that they have a way out, unlike others. When the whole world encounters problems after problems, the believers have Jesus in them as a way out of their struggles.
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.1 Corinthians 10:13
When Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate the forbidden fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, God sealed the path to the tree of life in the garden of Eden. Fortunately, even before creating the world, God destined His Son as the ransom to redeem the people and made Jesus the way to the tree of life. Hence, we have the confidence to approach Him and our Father through Him at any time.
Jesus told His disciples that while the whole world rejoices, you will weep, but your sorrow will turn to joy. It conveys that when the children of God rejoice, the worldly people will be in trouble. Why does God make His people unhappy and then make them happy? The Bible says God made His people humble to make them understand that they cannot live by bread alone but with the word that departs from His mouth.
Blessed are those who mourn,Matthew 5:4
for they will be comforted.
The above verse appears to be a proverb such as we are pinching the baby and rocking the cradle too. The Psalmist in Psalm 84 talked about the crying people who passed the valley of Baka and made it a spring. These verses motivate the people who had lost their loved ones and help them come to normalcy. Similarly, people who mourn the death of Jesus, realizing that they are the cause of His death, will be comforted by God.
Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.2 Corinthians 7:10
Some people mourn for walking in the ways of God because they think that walking with God does not make them rich. The desire to become rich by any means leads them to destruction. But without seeing their inner conflicts, we always desire to become like them. The struggle to choose the ways of God or the wicked lingers in our minds but remember that our wrong decisions would end up giving us worldly sorrow. Ultimately, God gave His Son as a way out of our problems.
Learn To Discern the Difference
While the worldly people see our problems as a punishment levied on us for following Jesus, we as children of God should have the capability to discern punitive with chastening. First of all, we have to understand that there is no one bigger than God who could punish us. As He is the only One capable of punishing us, He would not punish people for following His Son.
Every army has soldiers in the Infantry, who will march on the war front. These soldiers learn to kill their enemies with their hands by pressing the nerves on their necks. But before teaching them these tactics, these soldiers will be tortured and humiliated to develop perseverance so they would not use their learnings wrongfully.
As God included us in His family as His children, we have become His heirs. God entrusts His living word, which is active and alive, in our hands. He does not want us to use His word wrongfully or to lose it without preparing our minds to hold it. God trains us in all respect that we should become mature enough to use His word only to accomplish His will. He reveals His will to His children and delegates His power to them. If we take discipline as hardship, then we are not His legitimate children.
Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline —then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all.Hebrews 12:7-8
Appearing Before the Throne of God
Psalmist portrayed a group of people who learned to take God’s discipline as a boon and changed the grieving valley into a joyful spring. The Psalmist further mentioned that they gained strength upon strength to appear before the throne of God.
As they pass through the Valley of Baka,Psalms 84:6-7
they make it a place of springs;
the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
They go from strength to strength,
till each appears before God in Zion.
The author of the book of Hebrews reiterates these teachings and asks us not to take the teaching of the Lord lightly. God loves us and chastens everyone He accepts as sons and daughters. If this discipline appears to us as a punishment, we should ask God to take us as His children. Because for children, the chastening of God gives joy. For the children of the world, it appears as a punishment. Let us not be conformed to the views of this world but confront it with the strength God gives us. Do not decide for yourselves and accept that suffering is part of a believer’s life to receive the reward after passing from this world. Because with Jesus coming to the earth, the Kingdom of God is available to His followers, even while they live on this earth.
Jesus replied, “The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst.”Luke 17:20-21
Let us not be fooled by myths and false theories that hinder us from becoming His children. Jesus teaches His children to pray to accomplish His will on this earth just as it happens in heaven. He never promised us a hassle-free life but opened our eyes to see that the whole of heaven is cheering for us, as the one who came down from heaven disciplining us to enjoy the heavenly blessings even while we live on this earth. Praise Him because He is the one worthy to be praised.
‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,Matthew 6:9-10
your kingdom come, your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.