At some point in life the influence and harassment of others becomes unimportant. Finally you come to see the value of Jesus Christ and whatever negativity that comes with it is worth every minute. In 1st Peter 4 we read, “Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles (non-believers), having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable idolatries. In all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excesses of dissipation, and they malign you; but they will give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.”
When I was a child my Father took my sisters and me to church all the time. In fact when I was in the seventh grade I was on the church bowling league and absolutely loved bowling. I used to talk to schoolmates about it and one of them in particular would make fun of me calling me “church boy.” I’m not sure if you remember or not but when you’re around the age of a seventh grader these types of things can become bigger than life itself. So, like many others I shrank back from conversations regarding church and began to resent every thing about church. Don’t get me wrong like everyone else I had my fair share of rebellion against God built in to go along with the teasing in order to discourage me from sticking it out. At the age of 16 after getting my first real job and drivers license I never looked back.
Subsequently I spent the next 15 yrs. or so pursuing everything but God and his ways. I became addicted to alcohol, pot, pills and did just about any type of drug offered to me. Looking back it seems I was only looking for peace, contentment and meaning in life and was determined to find it any where except the one place it can actually be found which is Jesus Christ. But thankfully we have a very wise and patient God. He knows how we are and allows us to try any and everything on our own until we come to the place where we are ready to let him run things for us.
By the time I was 31 yrs. old I had had enough. After trying just about every drug known to man I finally ran out of ideas so I cried out to God for him to do what only he could do all along. You see God isn’t looking at us thinking “Why can’t they get it?” or “Maybe this time they’ll succeed.” No, he understands what the Apostle Paul discovered and thankfully recorded for us in Romans 7. He said, “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.” In and of ourselves we cannot do what God commands us to do! I know that sounds crazy so we think “why does God command us to do it then?”
You see God gave us his commandments, not so we could do them, but so we would come to the conclusion we can’t. He has known all along we can’t perform up to his perfect standards but we have to come to the place where we see it. We have to get so tired and worn out from trying to run things until we cry out with Paul saying, “Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?”
After we have found ourselves at the end, of our so called independence, we will receive Christ and let him do what only he can do which is live the Christian life in us. The good news is after we are thoroughly convinced of our inability we will more than likely not go back to our old ways. No matter how much peer pressure, hardship, loss or confusion we will finally be convinced Jesus Christ is the Way the Truth and the Life and he has the words of life so where else can we go? Isn’t the time already past sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles (non-believers)…In other words haven’t we spent enough time doing all of those things we already know will end in futility? Who cares if they think it’s strange when we don’t run with them down these deadly dead-end roads?