Summary: We grow soft and cold without it. Sometimes it takes the fire of persecution for us to seek the fire of God.
1 Peter 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?
19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.
I read of an Orthodox Rabbi who was saved and led his whole family to Christ. This will not only cost him his position, but other family and friends will shun him. His parents might even hold a funeral. One man knocked on his parents door and when his Dad opened it he just shut it. He heard his Mom ask who it was and Dad replied that it was only the wind.
Believing in Christ does not cost us much unless we had a family opposed to it. Most of our old friends may laugh or be suspicious, but they will not shun or harm us. Maybe that is why so many of us are shallow.
I have always maintained that not only should we go back to public baptisms we should also publish a list of those who were baptized last Sunday so no one can be an undercover Christians. We have too many of those on Sunday that stayed up too late on Saturday.
When I was saved I went from being number one in a co-worker's book to out of the book. Not even the last line on the back cover. Every time one lad would call in his morning report he always had a slur or mocking story to tell. I once worked at a job where I was consistently harassed and even my life threatened because of my faith. Many Christians will get offended and leave a church because someone did not shake their hand or notice their new hair style or some other silly thing.
Some are predicting a great persecution coming. If that is true, it may be the best thing for the American Church in decades. We will be turned from being ice cream saints that melt at the slightest degree change or the never get out of the freezer types into those who will endure hardness as good soldiers do receiving the fire of God on our lives. Facades will drop. Our seats will no longer be comfortable. Our worries about the church being too hot or to cold or we did not get our way in the business meeting will be over.
Instead of seeking the best band or motivational speaker, or someplace where we can get zapped we will be seeking the presence and power of God. It will become He church, not Me church. Our prayer lives will improve. We will read our hidden Bibles instead of having dusty Bibles. Our fellowship with saints will take on a new level beyond cookies and chatter and then we scatter. Our conversations will be more about Christ than sports or politics.
Among my Veteran family there is a saying, "He who sheds blood with me is my brother forever." Jesus shed His blood so we could be brothers and sisters forever, but we do not love each other as we should. We split churches over nonsense and do not handle our differences as adults, let alone as children of God. We play with the toys of fads, celebrity preachers, Madison Avenue branding and marketing rather than putting on the whole armor God whereby we can dispel darkness with His light and power.
Yes, maybe we need it to be a tad difficult to be a Christian requiring more than a country club initiation enjoying all of the benefits without any responsibility to even show up for the meetings let alone serve in some capacity.
God has often had to make where I worked uncomfortable before I would seek a new job. He had to make it uncomfortable at times before I would get out of a bad church situation or an organization. He allowed my last fulltime job to get so bad that I finally retired a few years before I wanted. Had I not I would not have had the time with my son in the last year of his life. I would have missed much.
I pray that in the midst of whatever comes God will bring a revival as He has often done in the midst of chastisement or judgment. May millions get a fresh view of His glory and His mercy. More may be saved in a year than there has been in decades. Wandering sheep will return to fold and the backsliders will repent and be filled and fruitful. Whatever happens, He is in control.