Is Our Religion Based on Convenience or Conviction?
Glenn Goodwin

True conversion to Jesus Christ is based on conviction - not convenience. Likewise, faithfulness to Christ is based on conviction - not convenience. It is a sad spectacle, therefore, to observe so many professed believers in Christ who are following Jesus according to convenience rather than conviction.

The tragic part about it is that such church members are not truly converted to the Lord, because if they were really converted on the basis of their conviction they would faithfully obey Christ out of the same conviction. Somewhere along the way, somehow, these casual church members have led themselves to believe that while Christianity in theory represents their religious profession, it is optional whether they practice it or not. Such have been deceived into believing there is an easy, comfortable and convenient way to Heaven.

They have never soberly meditated upon the far-reaching implications of statements made by Jesus, such as: "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me" (Luke 9:23). Self-denial is essential to true discipleship; further, it must be a daily relationship with the Lord - not seasonal. His will must be paramount in the Christian's heart - above every earthly consideration, whether it be family, health, finances, occupations, or pleasure (Luke 14:26-33).

It was this demanding call for self-sacrifice that led many disciples of Christ to turn away from the Master. They thought his teachings too hard (John 6:60-66). They were not willing to pay the price of true discipleship. Likewise, today many are unwilling to pay the price of true discipleship. For example, worship has ceased to be a privilege and has become a burden to many. When the time comes for the saints to assemble for worship, it is inconvenient to turn off the television set and leave the comforts of a nice, cozy home.

Yes, from the purely selfish viewpoint, it is inconvenient - just as a daily religion is more inconvenient for selfish people that a seasonal religion. The founder of the Faith, Jesus Christ, did not find the path to Calvary's mountain easy or comfortable or convenient. No, Jesus suffered "leaving us an example, that we should follow in His steps" (1 Peter 2:21). If the Master's Way was demanding, challenging, hard, costly, and self-denying, those who follow in His steps should not expect a soft, convenient and unchallenging way.

Our Lord never taught or practiced a half-hearted, watered-down, spineless, inoffensive, faith-only religion. It is time for all believers to realize that Christ is the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him (Hebrews 5:8, 9) and who live dedicated lives of faithful service to His honor and glory even unto death (Revelation 2:10). When faith works by love, service is not inconvenient nor burdensome: "For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments; and his commandments are not grievous" (1 John 5:3). "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:28-30).

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