Are you a super brave Super Christian?
Following Jesus isn't always easy ... but you're not alone!
“Don’t listen to her, she’s a dumb Jesus groupie.”
“You must be stupid wasting your time with that God stuff!”
Being a Christian can be hard sometimes. In 1 Peter 2:11 we’re called “aliens and strangers in the world,” and we can agree with that. In fact, there are times we feel like more than just foreigners but space aliens with weird green spots or something.
For some of us, saying we’re a Christian is the way to be ignored, sneered at, or not invited to the “best” parties. There are times when we might wonder, “Why am I bothering with this? Wouldn’t it just be easier to give in, and stop being so different?”
George Orjih went through pressure to give up, too. In late July this year he was taken hostage in Nigeria by a group of Islamist militants. They told him to reject Jesus and convert to Islam. According to an eyewitness he said something like “Over my dead body.” So they dragged him in to see their leader. George “preached Christ” to him, the eyewitness said. The leader was not a happy camper. He ordered George and two other Christian pastors to be killed immediately, and they were beheaded.
Was George Orjih a Super Brave SuperChristian? No! Sure, it took guts to stand up in a compound full of guns and knives. But it wasn’t that he was braver than the rest of us. The thing that made all the difference was that Jesus was more important to him than anything else. Jesus was so real to him, so powerful for him, so central to his existence, that when he was told to give up his faith or die, he chose the latter. When it mattered, God gave him the strength he needed to be a witness for Jesus.
Thankfully, we’re not likely to face physical death for being Christians. But we can face “social death”, which when you’re in high school can seem just as bad. But the good news is, you don’t have to be a Super Brave SuperChristian to deal with it.
Just look at Peter.
Peter was what you might call “a bag of hot air”. He was full of plans and commitment when he was with Jesus. “I’ll die for you!” he claimed proudly. But when Jesus was arrested, Peter folded faster than a house of cards. “I don’t know the man!” “I wasn’t with him!” “It wasn’t me!”
Then he saw Jesus alive. Then he received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Then he stood in front of a crowd of thousands and proclaimed: “God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” (Acts 2:36)
You don’t have to be a Super Brave SuperChristian to make a difference. When times are tough, look to Jesus. He’s alive. He’s coming back one day, when “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, ... and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord” (Philippians 2:10-11). That includes the people who are giving you heaps for trusting him. What a sad scary day that will be for them.
Just as the Holy Spirit gave Peter the confidence to speak up and stand his ground, he can give you the confidence too. You’re not alone. God is in this too, and he knows what it’s like. After all, they crucified his Son.