By Drew Zuverink
"Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him."
There was an image circulating through social media a few months ago of a quote that has stuck with me ever since. If you search on google images, "choose your hard," you will find the photo that I'm talking about. The quote goes like this;
"Marriage is hard. Divorce is hard. Choose your hard.
Obesity is hard. Being fit is hard. Choose your hard.
Being in debt is hard. Being financially disciplined is hard. Choose your hard.
Communicating is hard. Not communicating is hard. Choose your hard.
Life will never be easy. It will always be hard. But we can choose our hard."
This quote touched on something deep that applies to all of life including our Christian walk. Is it hard to live out our Christian faith in an increasingly secular society? Sometimes it is. But let me ask you, isn't it harder to choose not to live out our faith? You see we often think that life consists of choices between an easy path and a hard path but that couldn't be further from the truth. Life is hard, there is no easy paths. For example; we all have the choice to choose a healthy level of physical fitness. Choosing to go on a long walk or a run is sometimes hard, but so is choosing not to. The path of physical fitness involves difficult things like exercise, discipline, pain, being out of breath and so on. The path of not being physically fit involves difficult things like health problems, insecurities, often times increased anxiety and depression, and a shorter life. Neither path is easy, and it seems to me that one path is clearly more beneficial, but many people choose the more difficult path and deal with the consequences every day of their life.
This truth translates into our Christian walk as well. Choosing to be a faithful follower of Christ can sometimes be difficult in certain situations, that's just the honest truth. Even the great apostle Paul had to ask for prayers for boldness so that he would be able to preach the gospel fearlessly because sometimes that was hard for him to do (Ephesians 6). Another pillar of Christianity, the apostle Peter, also struggled as a follower of Christ. In Luke 22 Peter is afraid of what the people might do to him if they knew he was a follower of Christ and so he denied it three different times. Notice what happens to Peter right after he denies Christ the third and final time though - he runs away weeping bitterly. In the moment he thought that he was choosing the easier path but he quickly realized he had chosen the harder one. He had betrayed his dear friend, his savior, his God and it grieved him to levels I can only imagine.
Will it be hard for us to always choose to align with Christ? You bet, but for anyone who loves Christ we know what it's like to experience the anguish that comes after we choose to be ashamed of him. Will it be hard to share our faith? Yes it will, but not as hard as it will be if we choose to withhold the good news from our loved ones who are yet lost. Will it be hard to resist the temptation to lust and to visit that website again? More than some people know, but not as hard as it is to live with the guilt afterwards. We have a choice, we can either choose to live out our faith in every situation, no matter how hard it will be, or we can choose to not live it out. Both options will sometimes be hard. The question is, which hard will you choose?