There is a running joke in my family that I am “Miss Goody Two-Shoes”, or “Saint Mary” as my sister jokingly calls me, because I tend to be the one to speak up to change the station if a song is on the radio that contains offensive language or to change the TV channel if there is something impure taking place on the screen. While I don’t mind the jokes (mainly because I know they agree with me, they just don’t speak up), some people DO mind being spot-lighted for expressing their beliefs. Don’t get me wrong, although I am vocal with my siblings, husband, and son, I have had my share of uncomfortable moments when I realized that something I said or did at work or school implicated me as a Christian, and therefore, different than the company I was keeping. But why is that? Why is it so difficult to just say what we believe in reference to Biblical matters? I think it comes down to the fact that we are the minority, just as the Bible teaches.
Matthew 7:13-14 says “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”
Did you catch all that? Let’s define some words. Strait is defined by Webster’s as narrow, tight, constricted, and rigorous. Doesn’t sound like the most beaten path, does it? But this verse tells us that strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leads to life, meaning Heaven, or eternal life. It’s sad to think about, really. Is that the way God has designed it? Are there only a chosen few? Well, sort of. But it’s not like some denominations teach, where a certain number of Christians have been predetermined by God before they are ever born to join him in Heaven when Christ returns. No, God has given us the ability to choose to follow Him or not. If we are obedient to his will and endure to the end, as Paul speaks about in 2 Timothy 4:7-8, we will receive a crown of righteousness. But the key is obedience until the end. It is possible to lose our salvation if we stray from the strait and narrow way. 1 Corinthians 10:12 states “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” We should constantly evaluate our relationship with God, lest we join the many who find the broad path to destruction. Those who choose to disobey take the broad way, and the Bible teaches us that there are many that choose this path.
So, back to my dilemma. Why is it that I feel the redness rush to my face when I disagree with a worldly view or decline an invitation to a girls’ night out of drinking and partying? Because I’m doing it alone. No one else in the room sees anything wrong with it, so I am the lone ranger at that point in time. The easiest time to be a Christian is amongst fellow brethren, and that is why Christian fellowship is so important for our edification and encouragement. But we cannot always be surrounded only by our brethren; how could we ever bring the lost to Christ if we are never with them? In fact, even after the Church had been established, Christ himself still made a point to associate with the lost. So rather than dig tunnels to our Christian friends’ homes and to our places of worship so that we are never faced with an uncomfortable situation, what’s a Christian girl to do?
Well, first things first- we should be proud to bear the name! No, not “Miss Goody Two-Shoes”, but the name of Christ– Christian! Philippians 2:9 says “Wherefore God also has highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name.”
Remember that uncomfortable feeling I alluded to earlier? Let’s read about that. 1 Peter 4:12-13 says: “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.”
Basically, God has told us to expect some uncomfortable feelings- and worse! Think about what Paul, Stephen, and some of the other early Christians endured for the name of Christ. Beatings, stonings, being thrown into prison, shipwrecks, robberies, and even death were the consequences of teaching others about our Lord. While it is unlikely that I will ever face these extremes, I can expect to be made fun of, looked at strangely, and at times, isolated from the crowd. But it’s okay! Matthew 10:22 says “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.” I can take a lifetime of snickering and whispers in exchange for an eternity of bliss anytime.
1 Peter 2:9 says:
“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness and into his marvellous light.”
I suppose being peculiar is a good thing, after all. We have to make a stand! What are some of the current situations we will face in the near future? Let’s just take a look at the local news for a snapshot. A few hot topics are: homosexuality, abortion, gambling, legalization of marijuana, and so much more. Even some members of the Church are swaying towards the world because of Satan’s clever arguments. The world says we shouldn’t deny gays and lesbians the right to marriage because that is unloving and discriminatory. The Bible describes in detail the types of behavior that will keep a person from inheriting the Kingdom of God. See 1 Corinthians 6:9, which includes, but is not limited to adulterers, effeminate, and abusers of themselves with mankind. It also clearly defines marriage as being between a man and woman (Matthew 19: 4-6). While we are commanded to speak out against these behaviors and stand firmly against acceptance of these lifestyles, we are also commanded to love the person committing the sin. To hate them or be unkind to them is just as displeasing to God as the sins they are committing. The world says a fetus is not a baby until it is out of the mother’s womb. The Bible tells us that God recognizes us as human beings before we were ever formed in our mothers’ wombs (Jeremiah 1:5). The list goes on and on. If others don’t notice a difference between us and the world when it comes to specific matters of sin, we aren’t doing something right.
We cannot afford to remain silent and afraid in matters of salvation any longer, no matter the consequence. We are running out of time to bring others to Christ! 1 Thessalonians 5:2 says “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.”We don’t know when Jesus will return (so it could be tonight, or tomorrow, or a hundred years from now), so we must be prepared, and we must continue to give others the opportunity to learn the way unto salvation.
Special aside for mothers: Our children need us to be bold in speaking up for Christ. We must lead by example, for we are raising the future of the Church! It is our responsibility to raise future elders, deacons, preachers, preachers’ wives, Sunday school teachers, and workers for the Lord. If we fail in raising our children to be faithful Christians, we fail to bring others to Christ. Our children are our own personal mission field!
Until next time, keep the faith!