I saw a documentary about some convict who decided to follow Islam as a means of staying out of jail. This was his decision because Christianity was "Too easy. All you have to do in Christianity is go to Church and read your Bible and you’re in.”
. Admitting one’s need for forgiveness and admitting that there is nothing that I can do to warrant forgiveness are the most difficult things that a human being can do. “The road is narrow and the gate is small and only a few will ever find it.”
. Finding and following the Will of God, loving what God loves and hating what God hates bends the intellect almost beyond the breaking point.
. Agreeing with God that what the world has to offer is useless for real life and real living is hardly easy.
. Having a relationship with one’s Creator whereby we mean it when we say, “That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong”
(2nd Corinthians 2:10), is not for the faint of heart.
. Romans 8:29 is God’s goal of each and every Christian but oh my what a goal it is.
Hated without cause, mocked, lied to and lied about. Jesus, our example and character goal, came to earth knowing in advance that He would be abused, misunderstood, mistreated, rejected, insulted, betrayed and ultimately have humanity do our absolute worst to Him. Yet He entered into a covenant relationship with us anyway because He loves us. And then Jesus said, “Pick up your cross and follow Me (be like Me, do what I did, act like I did, relate to others like I did).
. “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Col. 3:12,13 Try it and tell me how easy it is.
. Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Pray for those who persecute you.
. “Doing no harm,” as fools advocate, is not good enough for the path of Christ. The way of Jesus is proactive and encourages doing good to all. Lessening the needs of others whenever and wherever one can is a spiritual fallout of a Christ seized heart.
. “If you think you stand, be careful lest you fall.” A follower of Jesus will never overestimate h/her ability to withstand the power of temptation. Flirting with evil should be anathema to those who love Jesus.
. A follower of Jesus does good, and not just when officers of the world are watching. Rather, a follower of Jesus does good to please Him who is always present. “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
. Christian love sees others as worthy of preferential treatment.
“If you have encouragement from being united with Christ, If you have comfort from His love, If you have any fellowship with the Spirit, If you have any tenderness and compassion then . . . in humility consider others better than yourself. . . Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 2:3,4,10
Romans 12:10 - “Honour one another above yourselves.”
Gal. 5:13 - “Serve one another in love.”
Eph. 5:21 - “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
1Pt. 5:5 - “All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another because the Lord opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
A Christian is someone who believes and acts upon what Jesus Christ taught about Himself, about life, death, sin, forgiveness and the resurrection (His and ours). Jesus taught that a follower of His is a person who depends upon Jesus alone for salvation. He taught that a Christian is someone who depends upon what Jesus calls His Word (The Bible), and upon His Spirit for guidance and strength in daily living.
According to the convict, washing your hands and praying five times a day is a lot tougher to pull off.
Islam - the end result of a spiritual quest that passes through atheism / humanism on the road to self-salvation, the easiest and default path of all who deny their Creator as Lord of their lives.
Oh, and for what it's worth? One year and eight months later he was back in jail.