Trial By Denial
By Jayce O'Neal
-- Hello, my name is "Joyous Jayce" and this is "Harmonious Holly." We would like to welcome you to the Christian walk, where all your dreams come true. You will never get sick, people will always like you, and money will grow on trees, so you can live a safe and perfectly, peaceful life.
You see Christianity is like a social club, but better, because there are no popularity contests and everyone is completely honest. Yup, you have made the right decision, so once you pay your initiation fee you can be well on your way to the life you have always dreamed of …
Is this the Christian walk you thought you were signing up for? Or better yet, is this the story you have tried to sell to others? When I look around at the landscape of modern Christianity, I see a lot of teachings that seem to directly contradict the message of the Bible. I hear messages on prosperity and healing that seem to say if a person is not financially well off or is physically sick, then there is something wrong in their walk with the Lord.
What got me thinking about this is a friend of mine, who reminded me the other day that our testimonies are our best opportunities to minister to people. However, if we try to live in "La La Land" then how can we begin to relate to those who have not seen the amazing grace of God?
What I mean to say is that if we pretend or even believe that our lives are to be safe and perfect, then how in the world can we hope to connect with those who have no idea what we are talking about? If I were to be honest, sometimes I hear Christians talk in such a weird Christianese way, that I do not even have a clue what they are talking about.
The Christian walk was never meant to be the path of least resistance that we often portray it to be. The bad things we have gone through, and the hurts we have endured are not anomalies, but the very things God uses to help us in this world to relate to people.
Our wounds are not our own. Take Jesus for example. He could have been born on the earth and died, and rose again. It could have been as simple as that. He did not have to teach, nor did he have to die in such a painful way, but He did. He chose to do that.
Why? I used to ask myself that question, and one of the reasons I think He did this is because He knew the power of being able to identify. God (AKA Jesus) became man and chose to identify with us by experiencing the pain and anguish that each of us have to experience.
He is not a distant God who tells us the do's and don’ts, but rather a very personal God who says, “I will go through the hells of this world in order to show you my undying, everlasting love.”
You see, He was betrayed, so when your friends gossip about you, He understands. His dearest friends walked away from Him in His greatest time of need. So when your spouse cheats on you, He understands. He hung on a cross naked and exposed for all to see, so when you were abused and exposed in ways no one should have to experience, He understands.
When Thomas doubted Jesus’ resurrection, Jesus put Thomas’
fingers through His wrists where the spikes pierced Him and then Thomas believed. You see, sometimes people will only come to believe the truth, after they have seen your wounds.
I do not know why bad things happen, but I do believe that one of the reasons is because if none of us Christians had ever gone through anything difficult, then we would never be able to relate to the broken and wounded in the world.
So when we try to make the Christian walk sound like a Sunday stroll, I think we hurt the cause of Christ. People cannot relate to that, because it simply is not true. The world is seeking truth, and they can smell sensationalism and fraud from a mile away, because nothing this side of heaven is perfect and pain free.
However, when we show them the nails in our hands, the paths we have walked, and how God has touched our lives, then many of the doubting Thomas’ will listen. The power of identifying is your greatest tool, not walking through trials by denial.
Revelation 12:11 says:
"And they overcame Him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death."
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Dr. Jayce O’Neal is the author of Crazy Circus World and 100 Answers to 100 Questions Every Graduate Should Know. He is also a public speaker, and actor who enjoys cheering for his favorite sports teams while eating pizza with a fork. He likes to watch movies, visit amusement parks, and play board games. Dr. Jayce loves to be creative and encourage others to use their imaginations and their noggins. He has a Doctorate, two Masters Degrees, a Bachelor of Science, and a small trophy for perfect attendance in Sunday school from when he was nine. He currently resides with his fantabulous wife in the Los Angeles area. For more information visit: Jayceoneal.com
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