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There’s a lot of good advice in the Bible for people who just want a self-help book. Being nice to your neighbors, working hard, avoiding drunkenness — principles like these will help people lead more prosperous, less troublesome lives. There are many packed churches out there that help people lead “good” lives by teaching these principles.

But guess what? The Bible is not a self-hep book, and the point of being a Christian is not to lead the best, most pleasant life possible here on earth. While many Biblical principles will help us avoid heartache, many of God’s commands will lead us straight into difficulties, even suffering.

Think about Jesus. How did he react when he was falsely accused before his crucifixion? Did he throw punches or insults? Did he argue and complain?

No. He stayed quiet because He knew God wanted him to submit. What did his silence get him? Did his silence prevent his suffering? Did obeying God make life easier for Jesus?

No. Submitting to God led Jesus to the cross. His silence did not prevent his suffering, but it allowed God’s will to be done.

As Christians, our greatest desire should be that our lives glorify God. To live as he wants us to live, we have to be willing to give up our lives down here and to submit to difficulty and suffering to do his will.

There’s a choice involved in being a Christian. The Bible teaches that we must either choose to live for this life or choose to live for God’s kingdom. We can’t live for both. Believing in Jesus means we believe in eternity, and when we believe in eternity, the choice should be clear.

What choice have you made?

“[Jesus said,] ‘You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. All men will hate you because of me. But not a hair of your head will perish. By standing firm you will gain life.'” Luke 21:16-19

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