Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?"
- Matthew 16:24-26
I used to struggle with how I viewed the Christian lifestyle. I sometimes felt like I was missing out or not living my life to the fullest. However, I learned that Christianity isn't about rules and regulations; It's all about taking up your cross daily and honoring God in every way possible. Even when it seems like you're the only one living differently.
As believers, we must have heart checks and evaluate what we perceive to be inconvenient and convenient. Often times the Christian lifestyle is viewed as inconvenient, and so many people focus on what Christians aren't “allowed” to do. However Christianity does not thrive on legalism, and God isn't a puppet master. We have free will, and we get to choose what we want to do. God calls us to holiness because it's the best option for us, we should never view godly living as a disturbance. Throughout the word of God, we see several examples of people that chose God's way, and others that didn't. However, we know from reading the word that God’s way is the best way, and we obtain favor by following him. All in all, righteousness is the better option, and sometimes it is viewed as inconvenient. However, it truly isn't!
Christianity is often associated with inconvenience because living for God isn't easy. Being in a relationship with God requires us to depart from sinful nature, and instead embrace God’s way. Needless to say, we must be completely intentional, and not indulge in the ways of the world. God calls us to live a set-apart life (1 Peter 2:9), not an inconvenienced one. Honestly what many may call inconvenient, truly isn't inconvenient; it's sacrificial and challenging.
If we are to take a look at Jesus’s life then we will see the abundance of seemly "inconvenient" things that he took on. Instead of dwelling in heaven he came to earth as a man and endured the troubles of this life. He didn't have to, but he chose to! He worked as a carpenter, he traveled many miles to preach the gospel, and he was battered and abused on the cross to the point of death. However Christ did those things out of love, he didn't come to be served but to serve (Matthew 20:28). He laid down his life and took on our iniquities because he didn't want us to suffer in hell. Nothing that Christ did was easy, it all required sacrifice. However, he didn't view his life as inconvenient but as an opportunity to do his father's will. We have been called to live our lives with the same intentions that Jesus did.
For someone that doesn't love the Lord, abstaining from sex, turning the other cheek, going to church, etc. It may seem a bit “extra” and unnecessary. However, when you love the Lord, you realize that there is no request that is too big. Christ did what many people would perceive as inconvenient for God’s glory, and as a result, we aren't chained to sin. It's all about perspective! If we glance at the work that Christ did, then all we may see is some form of inconvenience; however, if we are to take a look at the results of his labor then we will see dedication. We mustn't dwell on what we may not be doing, and remember that living for God is the most beneficial thing that we could ever do!
Inconveniences are bothersome, disruptive, and time-consuming; ultimately having a relationship with God isn't inconvenient. We live in a society that rebels against the word of God, and occasionally it can be very challenging to rise against the traditions of this world. The Christian lifestyle may sometimes seem inconvenient, and at times you may feel like you're missing out. But let's be honest here! What will you gain from living an ungodly life? What will you produce from living in the world? What's more important than serving God?
Honestly, inconvenience doesn't come from living within the kingdom, it comes from living outside of it.
According to Galatians, The fruits of the spirit include self-control, goodness, and love. However, in the world, those very things are often mocked. An ungodly life comprises of living in the flesh and surrendering to temporary fulfillment. As tempting as it is to indulge in sinful nature, it's not the life that we have been called to live.
Being a believer isn't easy, there were moments that I was discouraged because I thought that my sin was too heavy. However, Romans 5:20 says, “Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.” God doesn't call us to holiness blindly, he helps us along the way! God's grace, mercy, and holy spirit make holiness a doable thing! That's why we shouldn't turn away from living for him even when it seems hard.
The enemy wants us to doubt the effectiveness of our obedience to God, and as a result, he will set up distractions and make it seem like living for God is boring and inconvenient. When you live for God, people WILL make comments, and people WON'T always understand. But God knows your heart and you live for him, and him alone. Personally, I faced a lot of opposition in high school for some of the choices that I made, and some of the beliefs that I had. Many classmates probably viewed my lifestyle as strange and awkward; however, I had to learn to exalt God above my need for approval. It wasn't easy at all, but God constantly showed me that his way was the best. As Hebrews 12:2 says, we must fix our eyes on Jesus! Focus on what Christ has to offer because the world has nothing for you.
God doesn't just focus on the task at hand, he also looks at the hearts of his people. If we view his word as inconvenient, then we will miss out on what he wants to do in our lives. We must have hearts that allow him to transform us. We must always remember that nothing is a waste or inconvenience when it's being done for the Lord.