What attracts many people to the Christian life are the benefits to your personal life and your family. As a believer for many years, I will testify that living for Christ is the only life there is—I’ve been on both sides.

However, quite often we are not prepared to count the costs of being a disciple of Christ. I’m not talking about salvation—that is a free gift assured to us the moment we trusted Christ. I’m talking about a life of service.

This was the problem with the disciples. While they were busy imagining their place in Jesus’ Kingdom—who would sit on what side of the throne and who would be the most prominent—Jesus foretold a life of persecution, hatred, and scorn. Later they would endure great suffering for their faith. It wasn’t the type of life they had imagined.

Jesus does offer hope and peace to the believer, but that doesn’t necessarily mean a life of ease. In fact, it is a promise that those who live godly will suffer persecution. Friends will leave you. Family will mock you. The world will call you narrow-minded and intolerant.

Yet the promise of eternity makes this life not only bearable, but enjoyable in spite of adversity. I’d rather suffer with Christ than flourish without Him.

Trials bring us closer to Christ and test our faith. Are we living for Him because of the benefits, or because we love Him?

While the Christian life may be the best life, it is no journey of ease, but a road fraught with hardship and sacrifice, much like the life our Lord lived on this earth. — Unknown Author

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder