There is a difference between theory and reality… proclamation and practice… hypothetical and real world. We see ourselves one way, but reality may be another (Thus the picture). Those who say, “I tell you what I’D do if…” live in a world they do not fully know. That is the luxury of a theoretical faith.
Given the right situation and circumstances with enough pressure you (And I) are capable of what might surprise us. The question, “What would you do IF…” cannot be answered by anyone until they are there… in it… dealing with a real situation.
“Deny yourself” is required by Jesus in Luke 9:23 to be His follower. Preachers have presented this to congregations by saying… “You need TO BE WILLING TO (Fill in the blank).” This a convenient way to let himself and others off the proverbial hook. When not IN a situation everyone is “willing to.” It’s when the chips are down and it’s time to put up or shut up the truth comes out.
What is really in a person’s heart and who they are is revealed in the midst of hard and difficult situations. Unitl such a time, faith is just theoretical. So let’s ask some tough questions. For the good of the faith and reputation of Christ…
Would you refuse to “resist the one who is evil” when their actions endanger your future?
Would you honor, worship, and adore God even though HE crushes you to powder?
Would you “turn the other cheek” when personal insults defame your reputation and credibility?
Would you choose to “be defrauded” rather than the church or faith get a black eye in the community?
Would you forgive a person (Or people) even though they, 1) Don’t ask for it, and/or 2) Continually harm you?
Would you choose to lose everything… EVERYTHING… in order to be more like Jesus?
Maybe we need to be put in those situations so our faith is no longer theoretical. Unless we will take the hit… get a black eye… be made a spectacle or fool to all men in order to glorify God, we haven’t yet entered the Luke 9:23 life (Yet).
Here’s the catch… every Christian will be tested in these things whether they want to or not. Consider the following…
Deut 8:2, Remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that He might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not.
Deut 13:3, The Lord your God is testing you, to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
2 Cor 13:5, Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!
We must… as best we can… think seriously, realistically, honestly on these things. If God will so allow…