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Your faith is worth what it costs you

Oleg, one of our Moldovan partners was preaching in a village a couple of years ago. The village people didn’t like his preaching, so they took him out and beat him.   When asked about the experience, he told our team,  “Your faith is only worth as much as it costs you.” I like…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
Oleg, one of our Moldovan partners was preaching in a village a couple of years ago. The village people didn’t like his preaching, so they took him out and beat him.
When asked about the experience, he told our team,  “Your faith is only worth as much as it costs you.”
I like that. It sounds something like what Paul wrote to Timothy: “Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Jesus will be persecuted.”*
On the other hand, as I look at my life, frankly, my faith costs me little at present. I guess it costs me uncertainty. I’m believing that God wants to do more through me than I’ve seen so far; so I’m willing to abandon what is predictable and comfortable trusting that he has something better for me around a corner that I struggle to apprehend.
But what if what if in that “better place” they don’t like my preaching? What if my gifts aren’t appreciated? Can I with Oleg (and James) count it all joy? What cost am I willing to pay?
As we in the west practice our faith, we would do well to ask, “How much is my faith worth?”
How would you answer the question? What has your faith cost you?
*2 Timothy 3:12

Comments (13)

  • I guess there are two kinds of cost in faith: one is in the kind experienced by Oleg, where your faith and its expression get you into pain and trouble from people who are against it and you suffer persecution, even death. So many of our family suffer badly in this way, more now than ever historically. More martyrs in the 20th century than there were in the previous 19 put together they say.

    Then there is the different cost of holding on daily against the odds, when your comfort is absent, when God seems absent, when your world collapses and you feel like you are breaking apart. The easier option is to just forget it and either walk away or just step back for a while. Holding on to the ropes that keep you attached to the boat while the storms are raging, wondering if He will ever command the storms to be still, that’s a cost too.

    I guess the two are related. God whatever. God no matter what comes. Always Him. But it is not in my experience a one off decision. It’s a daily one, a moment by moment one to keep the faith, through gritted teeth and desperate tears at times, to hold on and to take what comes trusting He knows what’s happening and He knows what He is doing. That still He is sovereign, He is good, He is faithful and He is entirely worth it all.

  • One of the great “dividing” questions in a setting of Jesus followers is this one: “Is it possible to grow spiritually without suffering at some level?” Try it. The answer to that query will say a great deal about the person with whom you are speaking. By the way, my answer is “no”.

  • amen to carols response, To keep believing when nothing makes sense around you, to trust He exist and that He is still on the throne.

  • This has been God’s theme for the past few weeks with me… especially pointing toward evangelism. So no one likes to be beaten… But do I really believe that someone hearing the Gospel is the absolute best news I could ever share? Because if that’s REALLY what I believe, then I would be speaking up a lot more… Even if that means the person may not be my friend… Is this Gospel worth my personal rejection? Absolutely. Now comes the hard part… to live like it.

  • Thoughtful post and comments. I decided this morning I absolutely HATE the place Jesus is leading me into. This was for other people, not me. I’d rather be anywhere, doing anything, than facing this stuff … and yet I already know it will be the place I eventually have to minister from. I dread it a bit because I know the typical responses will not be positive and welcoming. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. Both literally and metaphorically.

  • Jodi, I relate very much to where you’re at. I don’t know the actual place you’re dreading/heading into. But mine is living with the appearance or experience that His promises are not true, that God is not faithful, that He does not answer prayer. I am left to myself. I feel puny because I know none of this is TRUE, but I’m not liking this call to TRUST when it’s only true in the realm of eternity without appearance of truth on earth. And I know, too, that this will later be a place I’ll minister to and from. But it brings me no comfort now. Here I’m called to rely on His Word, and yet not lean on my own understanding (even of His Word and Him). I could have “preached” this sermon to many through the decades, but this is not a “test of faith” or hill for me now; it’s a calvary. Let’s pray for each other.

  • My family have rejected me. I have been picked on at work to the extent that a whole folder of paperwork of incindences was sent to our school governers. I have been overlook for promotion to the point they have appointed my own dinner ladies who come in a do 1 hours work into higher full time positions rather than me. (Yet inspectors come in and Praise only one person by name! ūüôā So I know its not because Im not doing my job right.I have had friends turn on me for no reason.

    I was even called into the Heads office 4 months after I spoke to a member of staff IN THE SUMMER HOLIDAYS regarding my faith. (The memo I sent to the Head in response went somewhere along the lines of ” Christians being thrown to the lions..”)

    I have had things thrown at me on the streets, when I have been out to pray for people and church leaders dont like me and make me feel very unwelcome in church. I have been rejected despised and abused.

    One day I cried out to God ” Lord just give me a break! I am fed up of being rejected!!!”

    He responded with ” Get use to it. They rejected me first so if you want to follow me they will reject you too! ”

    There is ALOT of power in recieving this truth, it really helps to deal with the rejection and pain.

  • For the insightful and heartfelt comments herethank you.

    There is a natural human drift towards comfort, stability, predictability and control. And ironically with painful struggles against our bent the only way we “find” the life we are looking for is to “lose” the one we have.

    There are no shortcuts to radical discipleship.

    It’s binary. Yes?OR No?- And Jesus won’t linger forever.

  • Great honest and caring comments today!

    Jesus had no comfort zone, he lived with all of the positives and negatives that mankind sent his way. His love and TRUST in his Father took him thru the day.

    He breaks our hearts and comfort zones into a million pieces so that we can take each piece and share the lesson with everyone we meet. Like the millions of stars that look down on us as we sleep.

    I find that when I hate the challenge for a day or a season, that there is some one who needs guidence down my path called life. Now, I smile and wonder who God is going to put in my path who needs to hear his message. And yes God does have a sense of humor,,,Sjorgen’s Syndrome???

    Blessings to each of you today, and enjoy the comfort of the loving arms of our Father.

  • I identify with Seth, in that, my faith doesn’t cost me much at present. And I think that’s the real challenge of being a Christian in America (or the more “developed” world). You have to choose to suffer.

    I think that when you’re out in a place that is more proactively opposed to Jesus (like Oleg), the choice to stand by Jesus and your faith is simpler in a sense. Not easier, but a clearer path. The enemy is more visible, more palpable, and in your face.

    In America, Satan’s best gig is to make us forget that he’s around…and so we have to remind ourselves to go out there and get in the game. The game doesn’t typically come to you, you have to go out and find it and get in it. And it’s so much easier to turn Christianity and your faith into an Armchair Sports League.

    Not downplaying Oleg’s suffering and perseverance at all. That takes guts. But I think our struggle here is much different and so we can’t necessarily compare apples to oranges.

  • Francis Chan suggests a challenging idea: he thinks that for many of us Christians here in America our lives would look about the same if we were to suddenly drop our “christianity” garb. He reasons that for many of us, we just aren’t trusting in God for anything. We like to do it all ourselves, leaving little room for God to show himself strong in our lives. Or maybe we turn over little things such as, “Lord, help me find a parking spot close to the door at Starbucks this morning”.

    On the flip side, I think every human is always going through SOMETHING that is difficult. And for us to believe that God is working through it for our good requires Faith. Maybe it’s a health problem, maybe it’s loneliness, maybe it’s marital disagreement or maybe it’s a demanding job, but I think we all have room for Faith in our lives.

    I think there is more to what Seth said than maybe he even realized when he said his Faith is causing him uncertainty. I think we’re at our best when we don’t have a clue what’s going to happen next and we are just waiting expectantly for God to “pull us through”!

    “For my power is made perfect in weakness…”

  • Great words. All easier said than acted upon. Because real faith at some point will always require action in things we simply don’t want to do, paths so dark and uncertain we have no desire at all to face them. We may even have some assuring us it is totally unnecessary. But God says DO IT – and I will be with you. Darn – He is always stretching us in new ways … and i keep forgetting that without faith it is impossible to please Him.

    Things that make you weak in the knees, that scare the begeezers out of you to keep moving toward – I agree with you, Kathy, those are calvaries. “Come and die” to yourself … Trash your old way of living … trust Me to work through your weakness … all good, encouraging words. Thanks. (And I’m totally into praying for each other, kathy)…

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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