Is it worth it to serve the Lord?

Watching some of the televised preachers I could easily believe that serving the Lord is a hassle free endeavor.  With all of their promises of God’s blessing financially and spiritually we are lead to believe that serving God is an easy road.  Are we not continually told by these preachers that God intends good for us?

But what really happens to people that make the serious commitment to serve the Lord?  What happens to those of us who strive to live the life of godliness we are called to live?  What happens to us who go against the flow and seek to be true not to the gospel of men, but rather to The Gospel According to the Gospel?  Is it a road of ease without being buffeted with opposition to a life lived unto the gospel?

There is a group of people that were called the people of God who decided to return to the Lord.  They had backslidden and now were committed to repentance and recommitting themselves to the Lord.  But instead of a life of expected ease, they found life harder, almost impossible due to tribulation.  They finally decided it wasn’t worth serving the Lord.  They concluded there was no benefit to serving the Lord.  Life was a lot simpler and enjoyable when the served the Queen of Heaven.

As for the word that thou hast spoken unto us in the name of the LORD, we will not hearken unto thee.  But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, as we have done, we, and our fathers, our kings, and our princes, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem: for then had we plenty of victuals, and were well, and saw no evil.  But since we left off to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, we have wanted all things, and have been consumed by the sword and by the famine.[1]

Are you finding it more difficult than you thought it would be to stay committed to living a life according to the Word of God?  Have you found yourself even facing opposition from the people of God for your commitment to living a godly life?  Maybe things are just going wrong in your life that seem to have no connection with your tuning to the Lord, but since your decision, life has gotten more difficult.  Is it worth it to serve the Lord with such results?

If you find life pressing in on you and nothing seems to be going right since you started taking your faith seriously, consider others who endured when life was going contrary to the modern gospel of ease and blessing.

And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.[2]

Do we serve the Lord because we want an easy carefree life or is there more we seek in living out our life of faith.  Why should the modern gospel preach something contrary to the gospel of scripture?  Why do we listen to this gospel and think something strange is happening to us because life just got a whole lot harder?  Instead in our trials and oppositions we face in serving the Lord, we should rejoice for we are sharing in the sufferings of Christ.  He suffered unjustly and why should we think it strange we do too?

Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.[3]

In our trials we should rejoice for we can look forward with exceeding joy at His coming.  Why, because our faith is being made more precious than gold.  And Christ will be glorified in us both here and now and at His coming.

That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:[4]

If your faith fails when times are hard, how week is your strength?

If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.[5]

If you stumble in your faith due to the adversities of life, strengthen what remains in your faith, before your faith dies like those in Jeremiah’s day.  Otherwise your stumbling commitment to the Lord will leave your works before Him imperfect. 

Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.[6]

Are not the prophets examples of suffering who too spoke in the name of the Lord and lived their lives unto God, even under such opposition from God’s chosen people.

Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.[7]

In the days we live in it is not unthinkable to realize Christians everywhere are loosing their jobs.  Many have already lost their homes and feel isolated from their friends of the convenient gospel of men.  They feel the scorn and the shame of not being able to live the gospel they believed and are wondering where is God in all of this.

If you are a candidate of affliction and wonder where God is, and if it is worth serving the Lord, I ask you to consider the affliction of the saints who went before you.  I ask you to consider the sufferings of Christ.  I want you to be strengthened in the Holy Spirit and not find your strength in the doctrines of men.

Consider Adoniram Judson, the first American missionary who did not experience the benefit of today’s lazy gospel. 

“Few missionaries have ever had it tougher than Adoniram Judson.  During his missionary service, he experienced the death of two wives and several children, battled frequently bouts of fever, and was brutally treated in a death prison for 17 months.”[8]

Maybe like him, you disappoint your friends because of your passion to break out of those things that would take the place of Christ in conversations.  He was a man who disappointed the church because he chose to share nothing but Christ crucified.

“He often disappointed his American audiences because he did not tell exciting missionary stories; instead, he preached the gospel.”[9]

Maybe you will reevaluate your walk with the Lord in these trials you are undergoing.  Maybe you will not go back to serve the Queen of Heaven, but press into the word of God and be encouraged by the Holy Spirit as Adoniram Judson did.

“Nevertheless, after a period of deep discouragement, new power from the Holy Spirit surged through Judson and he was refreshed to continue preaching.”[10]

You are not alone in your suffering as if you were some strange spectacle for men to scorn.  You are following the footsteps of great people of God and of Christ Himself.  Remember to count in all joy when you are buffeted by life for you are receiving the end of your faith, even your salvation.  It is not easy when the rest of the world is going one way and you the other.  I know, I experience it everyday.  I get tired too, but I am learning to rejoice in my sufferings and counting it all joy as I look to the day of His coming.  Remember, He is with us even unto the end of the world.

[1]Jeremiah 44:16-18

[2] Hebrews 11:36-38

[3] 1 Peter 4:12-13

[4] 1 Peter 1:7

[5] Proverbs 24:10

[6] Revelations 3:2

[7] James 5:10

[8] From the book Heaven’s Heroes by David Shibley, page 49

[9] From the book Heaven’s Heroes by David Shibley., page 52

[10] From the book Heaven’s Heroes by David Shibley, page 52

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