Difficult to Be a Christian...

Excerpted from John Bevere's Driven By Eternity (Chapter 5: Pages 82-98)

Not only are those who’ve never heard, or refuse to believe the gospel in bondage, but many typical “converts” of this generation are in bondage as well. We’ve created this dilemma by neglecting to proclaim the cost of following Jesus. Many assume they are free but in reality aren’t and the evidence is in their lifestyles. Jesus says:

     I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, whoever commits
     and practices sin is the slave of sin. Now a slave does not 
     remain in a household permanently (forever); the son [of
     the house] does remain forever. So if the Son liberates 
     you [makes you free men], the you are really and 
     un-questionably free.
          John 8:34-36, AMP

These words reiterate the truth of the fruit tree. If someone habitually sins, then he is a slave to it. He is not a son, for his true nature hasn’t changed. He may think he is free because he confessed a sinner’s prayer, yet he has not freely given up his “rights” in order to follow Jesus. He still wants his freedoms (the counterfeit) along with the benefits of salvation. You cannot have both!

As stated earlier, they may start out their “born again experience” with joy, excitement and passion because it’s fresh and new. However, eventually their unchanged nature will manifest, but it will manifest in Christian circles and be cloaked in Evangelical language and lifestyle. This is why it is most deceptive. Yet the New Testament warns specifically of this deception; Paul writes, “In the last days it is going to be very difficult to be a Christian” (2 Tim 3:1, TLB).

We are living in the last days. There is no question about it; all prophetic Scriptures reveal Jesus is soon to return. Paul foresaw our day as being the most difficult time period to be a Christian. Other translations use the words perilous and terrible in describing our times. Why is this? In examining Paul’s days, we see he encountered great opposition. He received thirty-nine stripes on his back from whippings on five different occasions; three separate times he was beaten with rods; once he was stoned; and he spent years in prison. He met up with amazing persecution everywhere he turned. Yet he says our days will be more difficult to be a Christian. Why? He gives the reason:

     People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud,
     abusive, disobedient to their parents, un-grateful, unholy, without 
    love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers 
    of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather
    than lovers of God.
          2 Timothy 3:2-4, NIV

In examining his statement, you may still wonder what point he’s trying to make. How does this list differ any from his day? People in his society had all these traits; they loved themselves, money, were unholy, unforgiving, etc. Peter even said on the day of Pentecost, “Be saved from this crooked (perverse, wicked, unjust) generation: (Acts 2:40, AMP). So why is Paul singling out our generation to have these traits causing it to be the most difficult time to be a Christian? He goes on to give the reason: “For [although] they hold a form of piety (true religion), they deny and reject and are strangers to the power of it [their conduct belies the genuineness of their profession]” (2 Tim 3:5, AMP). The NKJV states, “Having a form of godliness but denying its power.”

So you can see what makes it difficult to be a Christian in our generation; there will be many (according to other references in the New Testament) who profess being Christian, born again, or saved who will not have allowed the Cross to slay their self life. They’ll not have made the decision to forsake all their own rights to follow Jesus. They’ll sincerely believe He is their Savior, but they’ll affiliate with Him for the mere fact of what He can do for them, rather than who He is. It’s no different than a woman marrying a man for his money. She may marry him for love, but for the wrong reasons. Out of this motive they’ll see Him for the sake of salvation and success in this life and believe sincerely that He is their Savior, but they will have never relinquished control of their own lives.


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