I’ve been home two days from a mission trip to Bangladesh. In addition to unpacking, washing clothes, and showing photos to my husband, I’ve been reflecting on what God showed us on the other side of the world.
For instance, the Bengali believers are “all in.” Unlike our American culture, the environment in Bangladesh does not allow for “lukewarm” or casual Christians.
A few weeks ago, two Christian men in Chittagong were beaten and left for dead because of their faith in Jesus. And this is not an unusual occurrence. Persecution of all kinds is commonplace.
Many new believers are rejected by their families. Jobs are lost. Homes are burned. Friends turn their backs.
The Bengali believers expect this persecution. And they still choose Jesus. In fact, they cling tightly to Him. In some cases, He is all they have. But He is also all they need. In a country that is about 90% Muslim, there is no middle ground or room for indecisiveness.
Things are too easy for American believers. We can call ourselves Christians without fear of any real backlash. We can go to church on Sunday and live like we want the rest of the week.
I think God is trying to tell me something. I’ve been reading Francis Chan’s book “Crazy Love.” Chapters 4 and 5 hit hard on this topic. Chan proposes that a “lukewarm” Christian is really not a Christian at all. That seems to be what the Bible says.
Jesus Himself encourages us to “count the cost” of following Him (Luke 14:25-35). Am I willing to give up everything to follow Jesus? Are you?
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What exactly do we give up? I have never figured this out. Is it different for each person? Is it money, belongings, what is it?
Margo, to be honest, I’m still working through this myself. I think first, I must allow God to develop a giving nature in me so that I’m ready and willing to give at every opportunity. I also feel as if the tide is turning in the US and more persecution is on the horizon. I want to be fully sold-out to Jesus and ready to stand firm whenever it comes!
Thank you! Glad I am not the only one.
I so appreciate this Kathy. Times like this take a long time to “chew” on and process. I’m sure God will use it in your life to help you reach the culture where you are and to help you know how to extend your influence. So grateful for your opportunity to see and to serve where God is moving in Asia!
Thanks Julie! And you’re right. There’s still a lot I need to chew on!
I was doing some thinking on persecution of Chistians in the US. Or the coming of persecution. Do you think that some of it is being brought on by Christians themselves? Christians as a “herd” can be unpleasant. Even to other Christians and our leaders. I was reading about depression be a problem among pastors, with a great deal of it coming because of parishioners. There is that difficult or hard to please group in every church that makes it an unpleasant situation for a pastor. Our savior, Jesus Christ, died so that we may have life, eternal and full of joy. Unfortunately, we seem to be unable to spew forth that message due to the way that we, as Christians, seem to enjoy being unpleasant or down right mean to our own brothers and sisters.