I love how real - how raw- the Bible is. It pulls no punches. It doesn’t sugar-coat anything, doesn’t hide any embarrassing details, doesn’t pretend like key figures in our faith were perfect.
Take Peter, for example. As one of the pillars of the early church - one of the AUTHORS of Scripture, in fact - you would think the Bible wouldn’t mention the fact that he blatantly denied knowing Jesus to a teenage girl right before Jesus’ crucifixion to take away the sins of the world.
Kind of an embarrassing detail about one of our leaders, right? Does the Bible hide it, sugar-coat it, leave it out? Nope. It puts it right in there (bringing great comfort to me, personally, by the way).
The Bible just SAYS it. One of my favorite verses of all time is 1 Corinthians 15:19, where Paul says,“If our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world.”(NLT)
WOW. Talk about laying it all out there. Paul doesn’t hedge his bets, doesn’t try to beat around the bush, doesn’t act elusive. He just says it: “If we’re wrong about Jesus, then this has all been one massive waste of time.”
Why does Paul say this? Well, for one thing, it’s not easy living in a world that doesn’t like Christ. But more importantly, Paul is trying to get us to ask ourselves the all-important question: Is Christianity worth it?
Everything in life has a price tag. Anytime you say “yes” to something, you’re saying “no” to something else. Want to spend more time advancing your career? Fine, but your time with your family will pay the price. Want to pursue a difficult goal? Sounds great, but your sleep, stress, and health might pay the price for it.
Everything costs. We know this intuitively and experientially. So Paul throws it out there for us all: Is the prizeof following Jesus worth the price?
Jesus Himself said in Matthew 16:26 “What do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?”
Some trade their soul for a pursuit of status, or pleasure, or money, or materialism or accomplishment. Paul realized this,and had actually experienced a LOT of it. And in Philippians 3:7-8, he says, “I once thought all these things were so very important, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the pricelessgain of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I may have Christ.”(NLT)
Is Christianity worth it? More than you or I can possibly fathom! Maybe we need a new definition of success. Real, meaningful success isn’t based on what we have, our appearance, or our reputation. Real success comes in knowing Christ - a deep, personal, abiding closeness with your Savior.
He’s worth it, for now AND forevermore!