Life is difficult. Being a Christian doesn’t make it less so. It might make things harder, but it doesn’t make it easier. It certainly makes life better, but not easier. Those who sell the Christian life as the way to ease and comfort are mistaken at best and lying at the worst. Jesus said, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).
We’ve been watching the Dallas Mavericks for almost a month in the playoffs. They beat down Memphis in four, and they went the distance against the dreaded Spurs. I’ve been trying to teach The Boy about believing in your team no matter what; and the importance of never giving up even when things look bad.
After game six someone asked the Mav coach Avery Johnson if he feared going to play game seven. He said, "Fear going to play a seventh game? That is what we signed on the dotted line for. You just don't sign when you make every shot. You sign up for adversity too, and that's why we are all here."
Well sure, that’s true of basketball, but even more its true of the Christian walk. Yes we have the benefit of peace with God through Jesus Christ, we have the added bonus of the continual cleansing of our sins. We have the peace of the Spirit, present in our lives and the comfort of his guidance in life and understanding the Scriptures. We have the fellowship with Jesus in life and ministry. We have someone to worship who is altogether worthy and who lifts us to be better people than we will ever be on our own. And these are only the beginnings of our blessings in Christ.
Our baptism (signing on the dotted line) is a surrender unto death. It accepts certain realities. One of those realities is what Paul called, “the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings” (Phil 3:10”). So, to blend what Paul said with what Coach Johnson said: When we come to Christ we don’t just sign on for all those good things mentioned above, we sign on for the fellowship of sharing in adversity with Christ, and that’s why we are all here.