Perhaps those who follow the Christ, may be excused for presenting the life of faith to others as completely joy– and peace– filled. Actually we don’t mean to say that there aren’t costs connected to Christianity. There are! A lesser illustration would be parenthood. We who have had the privilege of bringing children into the world have a wonderful insight into the blessings connected with that. We are so thrilled with the wonders of it that the costs, while claiming much of our time and energy, don’t get much of our attention. The joys so far outweigh the costs that we don’t feel much need to speak of the sacrifices. But they are there, all the same.
The Christian life has come down to us today, partly as a result of a long, long line of our forerunners of faith, many of whose stories we may read about in the Bible. They all knew hardship and heartache. They faced difficulties and dangers. They experienced trials, sufferings and failures. And some of these were very severe. But they counted all of it as nothing compared with “…the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus…as…Lord…” (Philippians 3:8). The Apostle Paul is the one who wrote that. Would you say his life before Christ was easier than his life after coming to know Christ? Before Jesus, he had his whole life planned out. He was successful and advanced beyond many of his own generation. He had power and influence. All of that changed after he met the Lord on the Damascus road. Some folks looking at that would have said, “Too bad! What a waste! What a shame!” But Paul knew better. The glory of Jesus Christ, the wonder of the forgiveness he had received, the holy purpose in which he was enlisted after meeting Jesus, filled him with joy unspeakable to the point that he said that his sufferings (2 Corinthians 11:22ff) were not worthy to be compared with what he found in Jesus. No! His life was not easier, but it was infinitely better!