21 They preached the gospel in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, 22 strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said. 23 Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting,committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust. 24 After going through Pisidia, they came into Pamphylia, 25 and when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia.
The phrase “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom God” has been ringing in my ears and echoing in my heart the last few weeks.
Far too often people speak of following Jesus as lollipops, butterflies, and ticker tape parades. The benefits of following Jesus are trumpeted but obedience and faithfulness are whispered (if voiced at all). Dietrich Bonhoeffer would refer to this easy believe~ism as “cheap grace.”
When we read the Scriptures we find following Jesus includes hardship, shattered comfort zones, and persecution of all shape and size. It is not easy … but it is worth it.
With hardships comes abundant life now and everlasting life to come.