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Friends in Christ Weekly Message
July 17, 2000

God's will never takes me where His grace will not sustain me.

I am blessed during my walks to and from the subway station as part of my daily commute to pass three churches with sign boards out front. The quote above is currently on one of those sign boards. I found it such a good message that I stopped on the way home today to write it down.

Christians are not promised an easy path:

Then Jesus said to all the people: "If any of you want to be my followers, you must forget about yourself. You must take up your cross each day and follow me." (Luke 9:23, CEV*)

You may have heard those preaching a message that believers are guaranteed material wealth and comfort. They are not preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus spoke of taking up the cross, of suffering persecution, and of being reviled by people for being faithful. He gave no guarantee of "the good life" as the materialistic world sees it.

Christians need to be prepared to face anything in following Christ, although what we will actually experience will vary greatly. Many of us will probably not face torture or death for our faith. We are more likely to face being seen as "strange" or perhaps deluded. We may find ourselves giving up opportunities for material gain because they would take us off the path God would have us follow. For that, we may be considered stupid or naive.

Jesus also said:

Take the yoke I give you. Put it on your shoulders and learn from me. I am gentle and humble, and you will find rest. This yoke is easy to bear, and this burden is light. (Matthew 11:29-30, CEV*)

At first glance, this may appear to sound contradictory to the call to take up the cross. But it is not. That's where the grace part of the sign quote come is.

Christ doesn't ask us to take up the cross and bear it alone. He promises, "I will be with you always." (Matthew 28:20) His presence in our lives makes all the difference. Our joy at his presence, his unfailing love for us, transforms the burdens of faithfulness. We are graced by Christ living within us.

You may have had the experience (perhaps many experiences) of doing something for a spouse, a child or other loved one that in and of itself is very distasteful - say, emptying bedpans or dealing with dirty diapers. If the relationship was truly one of love, you probably found the yoke easy to bear, the burden light. This, I think, should give you an idea of what Christ was talking about.

Dear friends, let God's grace surround you, sustain you and free you to follow God's leadings in your life.

Bill Samuel

* Contemporary English Version ©1995 American Bible Society.

©2000 Friends in Christ, Inc.

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Document last modified on Saturday, 27-Dec-2003 09:45:34 EST