“If you are going to live as disciples of Jesus, we have to remember that all noble things are difficult. The Christian life is gloriously difficult, but the difficulty if it does not make us faint and can in, it rouses us to overcome.” Oswald Chambers.
There is a passage in Mere Christianity in which C.S. Lewis talks about whether the Christian life is hard or easy. “It’s both”, Lewis says. “It’s hard as death in the beginning, and then as his life begins to worth within us and transform us, it is relatively easy, because he does the work of transforming us.” The question could be slightly rephrased as does living as a christian make life easier or harder? You can answer that question both ways; it is harder and easier.
Luke 14: 28-30 says:”But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you. They would say, ‘There’s the person who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!’ Jesus’ appeal is for those who would follow Him to reflect on the serious demands of discipleship. But does that make Christianity hard?
To believe irrefutably that Christianity is hard is a little bit tricky because it risks belittling the atoning work of Christ—making it sound as if salvation depends upon man’s effort. On the other hand, if Christians say following Jesus is easy, they risk downplaying the cost of discipleship. So how exactly does Scripture depict the life of a Christ-follower? Is it easy or hard to be a Christian? The answer is both.
Take a minute to read Matthew 11:29-30. Jesus breaks the easy/hard question down in extremely practical terms. “Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” But read Matthew 7:14 and you get a contrasting image of discipleship: “But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.”
So Jesus’ yoke is easy (Matthew 11:30) while the way is hard (Matthew 7:14) While christians’ spiritual burdens may be easy, their path is difficult. It’s a trail that leads believers into the hard sayings of Jesus such as the command to love one’s enemies (Luke 6:27), forgive others “seventy times seven times” (Matthew 18:21-22), and regularly assume the role of a servant (Matthew 20:26).
The Christian life is not always easy. Sometimes it is very difficult. Jesus didn’t come to confuse us. He came to love us and to show us the way to peace. He’s our ultimate example, and what’s more, He told us that we would do even greater things than He did. Easy or hard? Yes, it is.
- In your opinion is it hard or easy to follow Jesus?
- What can we do this week to love God and love others a little better?