Following Jesus Is Not Always Pleasant

It was over twenty years ago that I listened to a sermon series on the life of Daniel called “Marching to the Beat of a Different Drummer.” I was inspired and encouraged by the story of a man who gave himself entirely over to following God. Little did I know at the time how difficult this journey with Jesus would actually be in the life of a person. I have noticed a few things that happen when you live your life by the beat of a different drum.

1. Persecution. While I have never personally received real persecution for my faith, almost every day I read of someone in the world who is going through it. From China to Nigeria when people claim the name of Jesus, it might risk their very lives.

2. Rejection. Most people in our culture will not hurt you because of your faith; they will just ignore you. You will no longer be invited to participate. You are forgotten by the majority and spend most of your time on the outside looking in on the rest of the world.

3. Misunderstood. When you do not live by the same priorities as those around you, they will mistake your perspective. Their lives have a different starting point, and so every conversation is strained. The world does not see things the same way, and you will spend your life trying to explain and defend your position.

4. Loneliness. If your actions are completely surrendered to the will of God, it becomes convicting to have you around. People will have to watch what they say and what they do. It is easier to forget you exist than have you nearby. This will lead to continual loneliness. There is this struggle to live in a community with people who don’t really like you that is sometimes overwhelming. A continual refrain I hear from missionaries, preachers and committed believers is how lonely they feel.

If you are a believer in Jesus, then your life is blessed in the heavenly realms. Life on earth might not be so blessed. You have to decide early on in your walk of faith to live for an audience of one. The crowds may not like or understand your life, but God will be, and that is all that matters.

I know for some of you this has been a tough week or possibly year. I pray that you will feel the presence of God in your life even when times are tough.

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