You know those games that let you:
a. shoot a bird
b. slap Donald trump
c. shoot a bird at Donald Trump
They always have some ad, saying:
a. “WIN A FREE XBOX!”
b. “GET FREE TICKETS TO BLACK EYED PEAS!”
c. “WIN A FREE BOX OF BLACK EYED PEAS!”
Well, usually, the stuff they offer sounds cooler… so you think, “Oh yeah, it’s this easy? Cool! Let’s do it!”
So you jump in and play and then a pop-up window comes and says you need to fill out some forms… give out some info… apply… pay money… give over your credit card number… etc. etc. etc… you were promised the prize without telling you all about the work- you heard about the good but not about the bad…
It’s like that in Christianity…
We advertise Jesus as a calculator that solves all problems or an ointment that heals all rashes…
We tell everyone the good, but don’t share the bad…
THE GOOD: Jesus Christ, grace, love, forgiveness, peace, life, promise, hope, Holy Spirit, fellowship, encouragement, strength, a relationship with God, redemption, salvation
THE BAD/HARD: perseverance, faith, prayer, Bible study, trust, evangelism, righteousness, holiness, Christ-likeness, obedience, following God, listening to the Holy Spirit, forgiving others, loving others, sin, Satan, persecution, temptation, struggles, judging
We tell everyone that Jesus Christ offers a new life, His burden is light, His yoke is easy, He gives water of life, He provides every need, will forgive every sin, help you in every trial… then when they’re hooked, we let them find out for themselves how hard everything is. Then they:
a. struggle with it by themselves
b. get frustrated and stop following Christ
c. find people who share the problems they have but take years to actually understand eachother and the struggles they share…
What should we do instead? “Follow Jesus! He brings life and rejection by everyone! Follow Jesus!”
Well, it sounds weird, but Jesus did it, didn’t He?
“The path is narrow”
“People will persecute you”
“I bring fire to the earth”
“In this world You will have trouble”
Jesus let everyone know what they were getting into. He gave people chances to turn away, even encouraging others to leave sometimes… he was upfront about what following Him meant… are we?
not really- we just mention the good, and leave out the bad…
now, we shouldn’t become pessimistic, and focus on the bad, but we need to look at the whole picture… “When You follow Christ, you will get this, this will happen, you will encounter this…”
Jesus sometimes presented the Bad Meat Sandwich- He would say something good, then something bad, then something good as a promise through the bad… examples?
John 16:33b- “…In me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Matthew 5:11-12- “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
(I’m not saying that He did it all the time, but we see it a few times…)
We need to be sure to present the the truth, whole and complete… we shouldn’t trick people into Christianity without letting them know what they’re getting into. Jesus did it. So should we.