Two weeks ago I asked, “With all the promises of suffering God gives us, why would anyone in their right mind become a Christian?” We don’t follow Jesus to receive lots of money, or lots of “stuff”—houses, cars, clothes, etc. We don’t follow Jesus to make life go smoothly. So why do we make Him our Lord? Today I hope to answer that question, at least in part.
In truth, the benefits are tremendous—they’re just not always tangible. Instead of receiving material goods, we receive a Person. And not any person, but the God of the universe, the God who created us, the God who is perfect in every way.
Yes, at times He’s a pretty scary God, so powerful, so overwhelming, but because we know His character—that’s He’s a good God—we can trust Him completely. God is omniscient—He knows everything, including the future. He loves us perfectly. He is always trustworthy. We can trust Him to care for us. (See Matthew 6:25-34.)
Putting Jesus in control of our lives is the only way to intimately know God.
“No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. (Matthew 11:27)
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)
Becoming a Christian means that we can have fellowship with the God of the universe. We can actually carry on a conversation and receive his comfort and wisdom. He’s not just with us, He’s in us! We receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, who lives inside us and works His power in our lives.
Letting God be in charge of our lives mean we begin to become like him. Whereas before we were powerless to overcome our corrupt nature, we now have the ability to obey God. While I wasn’t horribly immoral before becoming a follower of Jesus, I was far from perfect. Now, little by little, He’s changing that. I‘m glad God is making me into a nicer, kinder person than I would otherwise be. How about you?
The actions that are produced by selfish motives are obvious, since they include sexual immorality, moral corruption, doing whatever feels good, idolatry, drug use and casting spells, hate, fighting, obsession, losing your temper, competitive opposition, conflict, selfishness, group rivalry, jealousy, drunkenness, partying, and other things like that. I warn you as I have already warned you, that those who do these kinds of things won’t inherit God’s kingdom.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:19-23)
He promises to be with us always, especially through times of suffering:
“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20b)
For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. 2 Corinthians 1:5
I can speak from experience that when life gets really hard, God makes His presence known in a way we can perceive. He doesn’t abandon us to suffering; He suffers with us.
He gives us a purpose for living. We all long for significance. We want to make a difference with our lives. God created us for a reason. Living just for ourselves will never make us truly happy. Fulfilling God’s purpose in our lives brings us joy and a sense of worth we can’t get any other way.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)
Finally, having the assurance of spending eternity with God makes every minute of suffering we will ever experience more than worthwhile. As Paul, who suffered greatly, wrote:
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. (Romans 8:18)