This Christian thing,
this thing that we bill as the answer,
So many times we call it easy.
We call salvation as simple as ABC.
But I can’t read more than a few pages of my bible
without being squarely hit with this fact:
The Christian life is not easy.
We are called to a higher standard.
We are called to a life of sacrifice.
We are called to place our trust in a God who is unseen.
It is a perfect life,
a fulfilling life,
one without remorse,
But it is not an easy life.
“This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”
We were in Africa, and one of the people with us had a guide to salvation – easy as ABC. I have more problems with that now than I had back then, but even stilli remember feeling rather annoyed at the assertion that this Christian life was an easy thing.
I suppose in some ways it’s a matter of definition. The way many people today live their Christian lives – a health and wealth Gospel that says something to the effect that we’re all on the gravy train to heaven – is certainly an easy proposition to accept and live. The problem, I think, is that it’s not how life works. Over and over again that theology is proved untrue.
More than that, it’s not easy to maintain a solid commitment to Christ. If it were easy, we wouldn’t have a high divorce rate; we wouldn’t have churches angrily splintered across the nation. We wouldn’t live in a culture that feels, primarily, that Christians are anti-homosexual, judgmental, and hypocritical, and more than that we wouldn’t be those things. (To insert a note of clarification here, I am not suggesting that we support a homosexual lifestyle. However, when viewed as an issue of human rights, we should not be anti-homosexual – as in the people. We can and should treat homosexuality as a sin. We also, however, should treat things like greed, pride, and lust as sin, which places many of us in the same boat with homosexuals – the boat of sinners.)
If the Christian walk were the easy walk, we wouldn’t have to sell it. We wouldn’t have to convince people that it was easy – everyone would find it out for themselves. The reality is that a Christian walk is hard. It doesn’t involve saying a little prayer or jumping into water and then checking out for the rest of your life until you get to heaven. It requires a constant, daily struggle with the nature of who we are. Salvation is not an event, but a process. A long, slow, hard process.
One without remorse,