Nothing about life is easy.
Relationships take work. Money doesn’t appear at my front door in the form of an over-sized check. People I love die. People I dislike prosper. Bad hair days are more prevalent than good hair days. Laundry keeps piling up. Bills too. Pounds come off slower than pounds come on.
Do you see where I’m going with this? Most things in life, especially “things” worth having, don’t come easily. Love takes sacrifice and time. Money takes long hours– sometimes at a job that makes it hard to get out of bed in the morning. Getting healthy means sweat and self control.
Christianity is no different. There’s nothing “easy” about it. Frequently, I’ll hear people say, “You just don’t get it, Holly. What you’re asking me to do is hard.” This usually comes in the form of a text message from a teenager in my youth group. Or from the lips of a friend sitting across the dinner table from me. Hearing those words weigh heavy on my heart because I know its not ME asking them to do or change anything. And secondly, who ever promised it would be easy? Whoever said that is a liar. And they should be shot, but I digress.
Jesus never promised easy. But when I read His words, I see simplicity in His instructions. Easy and simple are two very different things.
I’ve been thinking about the rich young ruler recently (Mark 10). We see a man who comes RUNNING up to Jesus and falls at His feet asking how he can inherit eternal life. Jesus lists off the commandments and the man reassures Him that he’s obeyed them since a young boy. Apparently, following those were “easy” to him.
And then Jesus gets real.
“Go. Sell all you have. Give it to the poor. Come. Follow Me.” (In my words…) Pretty simple instructions. Nothing complicated there. Yet, the man walked away sad and grieved. Why? Because he had lots of stuff– and must have liked the fact that he did. Give up my beach front home? My bright red sports car? My season pass to the Yankees games? My imported bear fur slippers? Come on, Jesus! What you’re asking me to do isn’t EASY?
Exactly. It’s not. We are told repeatedly in the Bible that we’d encounter difficulties, trials, and hardships. Jesus told us to count the cost– aka– “This journey ain’t gonna be easy. You up for it?” You mean, I’m not promised health for all my days? Or a million dollar making smoking hot husband? Or a car that isn’t a piece of crap? Or the strength to not hit my snooze 10 times before throwing myself out of bed each day? Nope. Instead we get handed a Cross with the simple instructions to carry it and follow Him.
It’s not going to be easy. Actually, its going to be the hardest thing you’ll ever have to do. At times, it will feel like your heart has been ripped from your chest. I can’t sugar coat it, but I can tell you that following Jesus has been the most fulfilling, beautiful adventure I’ve ever had the honor of joining. I’ve exhausted myself with tears, but I’ve also felt my lungs filled with an unquenchable joy. I’ve known peace in the midst of chaos and disaster. I’ve seen provision in the midst of poverty. I’ve seen hope in the midst of darkness and depravity. And I’ve encountered a Love deeper, stronger and more sweeter than anything I could have ever imagined.