Being a Christian can be difficult at times, especially if you live in a country where it is illegal to worship Jesus. But wherever you live, being a believer means denying yourself certain indulgences and restructuring priorities in a way that looks different than that of an unbeliever. We’re often called to sacrifice these things, even if they are not sinful in and of themselves, for the sake of Christ. In Matthew 19 verses 28 and 29, Jesus reminds the disciples, and as an extension he reminds us:
“I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.”
The twelve thrones are reserved for the twelve disciples. But I believe the other promise is for any believer. He says that for those of us who leave our family or our livelihood for him will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. I don’t believe God is calling all of us to leave our family or our job, but our priority should be our dedication to God even above these things. And it could be that at some point they are in conflict. If that ever happens, Jesus is telling us to choose him. If we do, we will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. We, as believers, should be ready to follow wherever God leads, even if it means forsaking those we love on earth. As I said, it can be difficult being a Christian, but the reward is well worth it.
God has called some believers to leave their family or job for his sake. Forsaking Islam and becoming a believer in Christ can mean turning your back on your family for Jesus. Or being a missionary in a foreign land could mean quitting your job for the cause of Christ. He may not be calling you to these extremes, but I believe that every believer should purpose putting him above all else so that if he were ever to call us to let go of something we love for him, we’d be ready to do it. It may not be easy, but Jesus never said the life of a believer would be.