Every day I hear stories of pastors or churches proving unfaithful in the task of proclaiming the truth once delivered to the saints (Jude 3). Denominations ordaining practicing homosexuals, a pastor running off with someone else’s wife or church funds. Some, I fear, where never believers in the first place. They convinced themselves and others for a time but now the truth is out and they are revealed (1 John 2:19). Others stumbled because they found the way hard (Mark 4:16-17) and left the faith. Others found friendship with the world more appealing than friendship and suffering with Christ (James 4:4). But Jesus warned us that following Him meant taking up a cross daily (Luke 9:23).
“One way or the other, Christ will bring his church to realize that ‘in the world you will have tribulation’ (John 16:33); that ‘all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted’ (2 Timothy 3:12); that we are called to ‘share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God’ (2 Timothy 1:8); that ‘we . . . groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies’ (Romans 8:23); that ‘whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for [Christ’s] sake and the gospel’s will save it’ (Mark 8:35); and that ‘through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God’ (Acts 14:22).”
John Piper, The Roots of Endurance, 19
Let us be a people who press on to the upward call of God in our lives (Phil. 3:14), no matter what the cost. We only gain our lives by losing them for Him (Luke 9:24).