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    Q: #61. I think Christianity is a crutch for weak people!

By: Steve Shirley

    A: I usually respond to this statement by first asking a simple question. What is it easier to do, just live your life in any old way and do whatever you want, or attempt to live your life according to the laws and commandments set down by God? The answer is obvious. It doesn't take any strength at all to just smoke, drink, do drugs, look at pornography, have sex before marriage, be unwilling to commit to one spouse for life in marriage, etc... The stronger person is the one who avoids doing these things because they are wrong in God's eyes (we won't go into the why's here), and just plain bad for us.

     Secondly, I would point out that Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world (although Jews might disagree). If someone takes a stand for Jesus, proclaims He is the ONLY way to eternal life, and without Him one will suffer in Hell for eternity, they will be persecuted. Jesus was beaten, flogged, and murdered for His claims. Paul went through incredible suffering for the cause of Christ (see: Paul's Trials). All of the disciples of Jesus were martyred for preaching Christ, except for John. Early Christians were martyred by the thousands for being unwilling to renounce their faith in Jesus. They were hung on crosses, fed to lions, burned alive, boiled in oil, flayed (skin peeled off), rolled in tar, lit on fire to provide light for parties, and faced other horrible deaths and torture.

     We don't hear much about it today, especially in this country where we are able to worship freely, but more Christians are being martyred around the world today than at any time in history. Huge numbers are being tortured, placed in jails, and under forced labor. Amazingly, many aren't even asking fellow Christians for prayer to stop the persecution, but simply for the strength to endure through it.

     All of these Christians could have avoided the suffering and death by simply renouncing their faith. Does that sound "weak" to you?

     Now, let me add here, that the Bible says God does indeed call the weak, poor, humble, and those who aren't wise, and rarely calls the strong (1 Cor 1:27), the rich (Mt 19:23-24)(Lk 6:24)(James 2:5), the proud (Mt 23:12)(Lk 14:11)(Lk 18:14), or the wise (Mt 11:25)(Rom 1:22)(1 Cor 1:19-20, 26-27)(1 Cor 3:19-20).

     God is looking for people who know that they need Him, rather than those who are self-reliant. He does this so that they can be made "strong" through Him. In this way, the non-Christian can see the power of God manifested through the Christian. Paul said this in (2 Cor 12:9-10) " And he (God) said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I (Paul) rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (10) Therefore I take pleasure in my infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then I am strong."

     This is a part of the Christian's testimony to the world. Our "test"imony tells the world the tests we have gone through, and how the Lord has blessed us and made us stronger in the midst of them. This is meant to bring both the unbeliever to the Lord, and to strengthen the believer.

     All over the Bible, God chose to work through those, who according to the world's standards might be considered weak. However, God saw what we do NOT see. He saw people's hearts and what they had on the inside. He made these people into some of the most powerful people in history. For example:

God chose Moses to lead His people even though Moses had a speech problem
(Ex 4:10).

God chose Jacob over Esau even though Esau was the firstborn and appeared stronger on the outside (He was a hunter and man of the field while Jacob was quiet and like to stay home (Gen 25:27).

God chose to make Joseph, the 11th of Jacob's 12 sons, who was hated by his brothers (Gen 37:4-5), and sold into slavery by them (Gen 37:27-28), to be one of the most powerful rulers in the world.

God made David, the youngest of Jesse's sons (1 Sam 16:6-11), and apparently picked on by his older brothers (1 Sam 17:28-30), to slay the giant Goliath and to be the king of Judah.

     There are many other examples as well.

     What you are saying, in reality, is that unless a person is self-reliant, and takes care of everything himself, he is "weak." You are equating physical strength, mental intelligence, or being rich with power. I disagree with that assessment. Who is the stronger sex: men or women? Men have more physical strength. Men, in general, make more money than women. Men have always been better educated than women through history. Yet, science show us that women are the "stronger" sex (i.e. they live longer and have fewer health problems). Why are they stronger? Because, it is not what is seen on the outside that makes them stronger. The same is true for the Christian in most instances.

     God turns our weaknesses into strengths (Heb 11:32-40). He has done just that all through history. The strength that comes from God is stronger than any "power" you will have from relying on yourself.

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