I plan on posting key quotes from my upcoming release, iFaith, all the way through into January. Here are a few quotes from Chapter Two.
Somewhere along the line, a famous preacher or best-selling author told us that if we “just trust in Jesus,” or if we “just give enough money,” or if we “just attend church faithfully,” or if we just “follow the rules,” then life will automatically get so much better. There are even whole books and sermons available that teach “the right kind of prayer” that triggers the blessings from heaven.
But what happens when you follow Christ in faith and life gets worse?
Here is another quote from chapter two, after a section where I describe a very personal story of a friend of ours who lost her husband and an examination of the life of Naomi, whose story is told in the Biblical book of Ruth:
Naomi’s story, Ashli’s story—these narratives frighten my generation, because we’re conditioned for the good life. We’ve been fed a steady diet of positive empowerment. We’ve grown spiritually fat on the junk food of bad theology and political promises of prosperity.
There is nothing inherently wrong with prosperity or the good life. But is the American Dream the sum total of our spiritual aspirations? If so, we’ve missed something. What Christ offers is something radically different. Take up your cross, He says. Follow Me, He asks. Deny yourself, He commands.
Cross-bearing? Following? Denying? These words are insulting to a generation conditioned for unlimited success. Sure, we’ll follow Christ, but there better be a safety net. At least a 401(k) and health insurance.
We rarely consider that our trials, the unfair tragedies that roll across the threshold of good people, may be the very signposts that lead others to God.