I'm going through a particularly difficult time at the moment, for one reason in particular which I'm not going to go into detail about.
However, one thing has become abundantly clear.
I think that often some of us get so caught up with the good things, the comfortable western life we have, the culture of "I'm worth it" which makes us believe we only deserve good things, that we forget something.
Or we get so caught up with the blessings and and the good things we have at church - fellowship, worship, good teaching, the ministry of the spirit that we forget the very same thing.
The reason to be a Christian.
The reason to be a Christian isn't because of all the blessings we receive. The reason to be a Christian isn't because of the fellowship, isn't because of the good worship or the feel-good emotion we get when we're in a room full of the spirit. Its not because God always provides for us. Its not because He answers all our prayers and gives us what we need.
Its none of these.
The reason to be a Christian is....
...because Jesus is true.
His love is true.
The cross is true
That's it. The love, forgiveness, and sacrifice of Jesus is true.
That's it. That's all.
If our lives suck, if we're going through pain, if everything seems against us, if God seems distant, if we don't think our prayers are being answered, if things are happening to us that don't seem fair, if we don't get healed, if we don't feel the spirit, if our church isn't good, if things aren't going well - none of them are reasons not to be a Christian.
God is always with us. Jesus promised that He would always be with us, that the Spirit would always be with us.
If we have real faith, surely we will keep believing, keep going and hold on to that.
If our faith is dependent on what Jesus does for us and how He blesses us, then its no faith at all.
Jesus is often quoted as saying how little faith people have and despairs of it, He despairs that people always need signs. Its there, all the gospels have it. That's because He doesn't want our faith dependent on anything but the truth. Not works. Not miracles. Not gifts. Not anything we get from God as a blessing.
The cross is the key to our faith. Anything we are given or is good in our life on top of the cross, is a bonus. Jesus wants us to recognise this, so we can have a really strong faith.
To have a real, strong faith is to believe in Jesus when there's every reason not to, and that's a challenge to us all.
Jesus is true.
That's all you need to know.