Convenience or Commitment?
Everybody loves the football team when they are winning; but what happens during the times when the team is losing. Where do the “fair weather” fans go? All things are tried by fire. When tough times come, the truth comes out whether people are doing things just out of convenience or out of commitment. Similar to the sports fan situation, the test of following Jesus is not what is said, such as “Lord, Lord” but what a person does, especially when it is inconvenient.
Jesus strongly stated, “whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.” This seems completely unreasonable and undesireable to our flesh. However, in over 2/3 of the countries of the world, people who accept Jesus Christ are brutally persecuted and often killed today. Why does God require so much? Deeds not words show the faith of a person. When a person is willing to lay down or sacrifice that which is in his hands, he demonstrates a step of faith that trusts God does care and will, in fact, meet his needs. Why was Jesus thrilled at the widow who gave her last two mites or the woman who freely applied the costly spikenard to Jesus? Both demonstrated the kind of love for God that gives all.
The same is true about Christian education. When a person has enough money to afford Christian education and still keep all the comforts and conveniences he has become accustomed to, then it is easy to enroll the children in XYZ Christian School and declare God has led them to Christian education. However, the test comes when the money for tuition isn’t there. Has God lead the same person to Christian education when times are hard and in order to provide for Christian school it might be necessary to not have a high-definition TV, cable, or cell phones, or a new car, or many other modern-day “necessities.” Where is the Biblical spirit that one swears to his own hurt (Psalm 15:4) or is willing to give all to obey the Lord? One parent recently shared that she and her husband had to re-prioritize their lifestyle an make some choices including continue to drive an older car so their sons could be taught and trained at CedarWood. In other words, they were willing to do whatever it takes to not compromise the godly mandate to raise up children in the instruction and correction of the Lord.
The love of money is the root of all evil. It is amazing how many times the real issue is money that causes our reasoning to change. Most of us know that God instructs parents in the word to “bring up children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4) and to be careful to “see that no one makes a prey of you through the philosophy and traditions of man” (Colossians 2:8) rather than obeying Christ. Yet, when the choice is between “free” public education and the cost (and sacrifices required) to have tuition for a Biblical education based on truth and love, the thoughts and intents of the heart are revealed. And unfortunately, often the world and its desires win. We rationalize that our strong Christian home will compensate for the ungodly influence of worldly thinking that our children will be exposed to for 8 hours a day. The Barna survey organization reports even young people who are from Christian families that participate regularly in Sunday church services and at least one extra meeting a week are greatly affected. 87% of these young people will have lost their faith by the time they finish public education.
The tragedy is that many people have been so thoroughly affected by the world and the desire for comfort, success, and convenience that they are unaware that the world controls their decisions. Yet James 4:4 states “friendship with the world is enmity with God.” Enmity means mutual hatred. Obeying God is not negotiable. You cannot serve two masters.