If Christianity appeals to you because it promises you an easy path of prosperity and a smooth sail through life, then you have been taken in a scam. If you’ve come across religious or mega-church pulpit cheerleaders telling you to jump on the Jesus bandwagon and you’ll be in for one life-long blast of a good time – steer clear of such fraudulent claims.

A scribe once watched Jesus as He attracted huge crowds and performed miracles. He may have thought:

“I will go for it! I’ll become a disciple. It will be awesome to live such a glamorous life. Imagine hobnobbing with a man who’s holding the people spellbound every day with wow-miracles and good works. I could become famous too! My life as a scribe seems boring and uneventful – a bit mundane. After all, crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s, studying the laws and regulations and writing and recording all the tedious religious stuff is not the most exciting job in the Mediterranean Basin. Plus, it’s hard on my eyes and aggravates my CTS in my wrist. If I latched on to this man, I might have it made for the rest of my life. Life will become easy – just a breeze.”

Here’s the Bible account of that encounter:

And a scribe came up and said to him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go. Matthew 8:19

On the surface, his words sounded good. But the Lord Jesus knew his heart and his motives. Jesus answered him this way:

And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” Matthew 8:20

The Lord Jesus was weary at this point in the day. He was thinking of laying His head down for a rest – but not on a fluffy pillow in the celeb-suite at the ritzy Jerusalem King David Hotel. Shortly after speaking with this would-be disciple, the disciples took Him into a boat “just as He was,” and He fell asleep, with His head resting on the hard steersman’s cushion in the back of the boat. (Mark 4:36)

The Lord Jesus never promised His followers an easy time or a glamorous path. He Himself experienced hunger, thirst, weariness, rejection, bullying and betrayal. Should we expect to have it any better? In John 16:33, Jesus told his disciples that they could expect crushing trouble and anguish. But through all the storms, He promised them intimacy with Himself.

In John 14:21 the Lord Jesus told His disciples that those who follow Him fully will experience the depths of His love and His Father’s love and He will manifest Himself to them.  As A.T. Robertson put it: The Unseen and Risen Christ will be a real and spiritual Presence to the obedient and loving believer.”

Dear Christian, you may be having a real tough day – or, even a rough month or a brutal year. Draw near to Christ just now.  As the waves pound against you and the dark clouds swirl around your head, let Him minister to your heart.  We would never trade times of intimacy with Christ for flashes of glamour or fleeting times of gain. The times when we have experienced His closeness, His comfort, His love, His tenderness and just the intimacy of His faithful friendship – transcend anything and everything that is superficial and temporal.

Walk carefully and closely with the Lord today.

Warmly in Christ
Peter Ramsay

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