Is following Christ difficult?

 

Is following Christ difficult?

Yes, indeed, following Jesus Christ is a challenging task. It requires discipline to walk with God. Therefore, anyone who claims to be a follower of Christ but is not serious about this commitment may lack discipline over time and may eventually give up. To follow Jesus Christ is to completely submit oneself to Him, recognizing that He is our Lord and Savior and that our love for Him must take precedence over everything else (Luke 14:26).

While following Christ may seem easy for some individuals, it is, in fact, a challenging yet ultimately rewarding journey. Picture a path that is both straightforward and full of twists and turns. That is what it is like to follow Christ: it may seem simple, yet it presents challenges along the way.

Christ’s main messages are about love, kindness, forgiveness, and understanding. However, as we go through life, it can get complicated, and we need to stick to these principles despite the challenges.

Jesus provides a profound guideline: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’ (Matthew 22:37-39). By replacing hate with love and anger with kindness, you will feel closer to God and experience greater peace in your life.

Finding Strength in Our Walk with Christ

In our sincere walk with Christ, we discover the strength to silence our flesh, aligning our hearts with the will of the Lord (Matthew 26:41). The truth is, we need God’s grace for our daily journey with the Lord Jesus Christ, as no one, in their strength, has the power to bear the heaviness of the cross and follow the Lord without God’s help. The Bible emphasizes, “With man, it is impossible, but with God, all things are possible” (Matthew 19:25-26).

Challenges arise from various sources: societal pressures, personal struggles, or conflicting priorities. It requires sacrifice and a shift in perspective. Sometimes, it means choosing a harder path that aligns with Christ’s teachings rather than the easier, more popular route.

Nevertheless, here is the wonderful part: when people face these challenges, they often discover meaning in their lives, become stronger, and feel a deeper connection with themselves, God, and others. It is not about being perfect but about striving to live the values Christ taught us in our daily lives.

The path of a true disciple of Christ

Many people may not understand the decisions we make as chosen ones, which are not easy. Often, our choices affect both ourselves and those around us. Some might perceive us as distant, unapproachable, or unwilling to engage with others, including family and friends. However, this is because our vocation requires a quiet environment.

Some will go beyond their Christian vocation and try to cross the line. We can choose to pursue hobbies, but it will not be the same as for others. Our vocation limits us in certain ways. This path is not for the immature but for adults with revelation and understanding, those mature enough to grasp spiritual matters. It is the most difficult path that true followers of Christ go through.

As I have gotten older, I have noticed that I have become more discreet and very cautious about what I share, expressing myself less often. I realize that this more discreet attitude is an aspect of my personality that I had not fully recognized before. Moreover, I am satisfied and at peace with this change; it corresponds to my inner growth and understanding of my vocation and spiritual path. 

Following Jesus has destroyed my secular life, and for that, I am very grateful. It has allowed me to discover a deeper sense of purpose and fulfillment than I had ever known. Embracing faith has brought me peace, joy, and a closer relationship with God.

Taking up one’s cross and following Jesus is not as simple as many think. True followers of Christ often lose almost everything because they have chosen to serve Christ wholeheartedly. There are many things that true Christians no longer do, and that is the reality of the Christian life. As Christians, we cannot live a double life, with one foot in and one foot out. Our lifestyle should genuinely reflect the Christian life if we call ourselves Christians.

When we observe self-proclaimed Christians whose actions do not align with Christian values, it should not be difficult to distinguish them from non-believers. It should be easy to see that their behavior is similar to that of non-believers. Their lifestyle and choices are not in line with what is expected of a true Christian, making it clear that they are not fully living out their faith.

We must understand that those who call themselves Christians but continue to live a double life, with one foot in and one foot out, may not be ready to fully embrace their Christian faith. It is important to recognize this distinction without doubting ourselves. These individuals may still be on their journey to fully committing to following Christ, or they may never be ready.

Many true followers of Christ may distance themselves from crowds for several reasons:

1. Spiritual Focus:

They seek to deepen their relationship with God, finding that solitude or smaller, more intimate gatherings help them concentrate on prayer, meditation, and studying the Bible.

2. Avoiding Distractions:

Large crowds and social activities can be distracting and may pull them away from their spiritual practices and commitments.

3. Living a Simple Life:

Many strive to live simply and humbly, avoiding the materialism and busyness often found in larger social settings.

4. Pursuit of Purity and Holiness:

They aim to avoid environments where they feel exposed to temptations or behaviors that conflict with their values and beliefs.

5. Vocation Requirements:

Some Christian vocations or callings require periods of retreat and reflection, necessitating time away from the noise and activity of crowds.

6. Personal Reflection:

Time alone allows for personal reflection, self-examination, and spiritual growth, which are essential for a deeper walk with Christ.

7. Following Jesus’ Example:

Jesus often withdrew from crowds to pray and be alone with God (Luke 5:16). Followers may emulate this practice to strengthen their faith and spiritual discipline.

By embracing these practices, true followers of Christ aim to foster a closer, intentional relationship with God and to live according to their spiritual convictions.

To summarize, following Christ is not about a set of rules; it is about a transformative journey—a continuous process of growth, understanding, and love. It is not always easy, but it is profoundly fulfilling.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father,

I come before you with a humble heart, acknowledging the challenges that come with following Christ. Your Word tells us that the path may be difficult, but with you, all things are possible. I pray for strength and discipline for my fellow believers who may be struggling.

Grant them the grace to walk with you faithfully, even in the face of difficulties. May their love for Jesus be the driving force in their lives, surpassing any challenges that may arise. Help them to remember that, through your strength, they can overcome all obstacles.

Lord, instill in us a deep commitment to follow you wholeheartedly, recognizing Jesus as our Lord and Savior. May our faith be unwavering, and may we find fulfillment in the transformative journey of walking with Christ.

In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

 

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-Charlene L. Kazay

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