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Grace Notes

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CHRISTIANS LOSE A LOT!
by Philip Owen

          “Christians lose a lot,” someone says. “Yes, I know,” another responds, “what an unhappy life.” And that is, without doubt, the view of many in the world: to become a believer is to initiate a life of deprivation, including deliberate self-denial. It is to embark on a path that avoids many natural pleasures, often to forsake comfort and convenience. And if we are honest, there is a measure of truth in those notions. Scripture attests to the idea that believers lose some things that are very precious to them. Consider Peter’s testimony: “Behold, we have left everything and followed You” (Matt. 19:27). Whether the “everything” is literal or not, the Lord did not refute Peter’s testimony. In fact, He doubled down on it, acknowledging that many had “left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms” (v. 29) for His sake. Similarly, Luke’s Gospel records that Levi, that is, Matthew, the tax collector, “left everything behind, and got up and began to follow Him [Christ]” (Lk. 5:28). Speaking later to a crowd of would-be disciples, the Lord warned them: “So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions” (Lk. 14:33). Furthermore, we know from Paul’s testimony that he lost family, wealth, position, prestige, and comfort yet counted them “but rubbish” in order that he might “gain Christ” (Phil. 3:8). So, yes, Christians lose, or may lose, a lot. But have you considered what else Christians lose?

            Consider what Christians lose in our ultimate environment. We lose cemeteries and hospitals. We lose prisons and rehabilitation centers. We lose slums and street people. We lose orphanages and asylums. We lose police and fire departments. We lose trash and sanitation departments. We lose judges and criminal courts. We lose filth and pollution. We lose crumbling buildings, car accidents, and repairs of any kind. We lose corrupt, oppressive governments and taxes of every kind. And you, I am sure, can extend the list.

            Consider what Christians lose on a personal level. We lose God’s wrath and judgment. We lose condemnation and eternal hell. We lose eternal separation from God and everlasting torment. We lose sin and Satanic oppression. We lose guilt and shame. We lose pain, sickness, and death. We lose injury and suffering. We lose sadness and sorrow. We lose defeat and failure. We lose disappointment, discontentment, and depression. We lose fear and despair. We lose weakness and tiredness. And you, I am sure, can extend the list.

            So, yes, Christians lose a lot. But aren’t you thankful? It is certainly true that Christians do lose things in this world—perhaps relationships, honors and advancements, wealth, comforts and pleasures, but they are all only temporal. And if God deems it right for believers to lose those things, then it is for our ultimate good. The loss of any or all of those things does not and cannot negate the promise that “No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly” (Psa. 84:11).

            Perhaps basking in that truth (or more likely in a conscious fellowship with Christ) Paul declared: “But whatsoever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things” (Phil. 3:7, 8).

            Those who appear to have everything in this world are, at best, filled with the false happiness of people who do not know that judgment is just around the corner, that they are about to appear before a God who will exercise His wrath upon them. In the meantime, what they have provides no genuine joy, no peace, no contentment. Lust, greed, envy, and jealousy eat their souls. How we should rejoice and thank the Lord that Christians lose a lot—but only what needs to be lost. Thank the Lord.

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