Today, I want to talk to you about interference. Does Christianity interfere with your life? Does it get in the way and keep you from doing certain things you would like to do? Is faith something that gets in your way, prevents you from making that decision of commitment? A grouchy old Scotsman once quipped, “things have come to a horrible place when religion is permitted to interfere with our private lives.”
Should our faith be allowed to interfere with our lives? Should it be allowed to place demands on us outside of the church building? Honestly, my question is not should it be allowed to interfere with our private lives but why wouldn’t it. Have we never read the Bible? Have we never heard of people like Paul, Peter, or Stephen? Have we never thought about the millions who cheerfully followed Jesus to their deaths? Why would they do that? Why would they allow religion to cost them everything?
Truth is that we cannot force others to accept Jesus Christ nor can we force them to allow His love and grace to change their lives. All we can do is offer it to them, teach them and then leave them to their choices and their Judge. Yet, this should encourage us to look inwardly at our own heart. Maybe that grouchy old Scotsman openly expressed what some of us feel secretly but are afraid to admit. Just how radically have we allowed our faith, our religion, our Lord to interfere with our neat little lives? Perhaps we need to answer that question. Before you answer, let me share a picture, given by Jesus Himself about being faithful and being Christian.
The picture is of is a man carrying a cross. Jesus said in Luke 9:23 that if anyone would come after Him, they must be willing to pick up their cross daily and follow Him. The hard truth about this is that a man carrying a cross no longer has the luxury of controlling his own destiny; he has lost control of his own life when he chose to pick up that cross. That cross becomes an all-absorbing interest, an overwhelming interference that gets in the way of every aspect of life. No matter what he wants to do, there is only one thing he can do; that is, move forward toward the place of crucifixion.
The person who would choose to reject Jesus is under obligation to follow Him. He allows us the freedom to choose by the words, “if anyone would.” That means that Christian life is voluntary. Still, no one can escape interferences. Law, duty, hunger, accident, natural disasters, illness, death; they all intrude into our lives and plans and in the long run, there is nothing we can do about it. The vastness of life’s experiences teaches us that these interferences will be thrust themselves upon us sooner or later.
So, we learn how to postpone the inevitable. We learn how to stay within a narrow little path where we can deal with the least interferences possible. Some of the bolder, more industrious among us, might enlarge their circle and increase the number of problems but no one invites trouble into their life willingly. We are not built that way.
Truth is a hard mistress. She never consults, bargains, or compromises. She cries from the high places for us to listen and chose wisdom and God’s ways over self (Prov. 8:10). After that, we are all on our own. We may accept or refuse, receive it or reject it as we please; and there are no attempts to coerce even though the whole of a person’s destiny is at stake.
If a person becomes enamored with eternal wisdom, with Jesus Christ, and set their heart on finding Him; then they will willingly take on a full-time, all-engaging pursuit. They will have no room for nothing else. Their whole life will be filled with seeking and finding, removing obstacles to his pursuit. They will discipline themselves and daily die to self as they are crucified to the world and the world to self. They will become so consumed with Jesus and the search for a closer relationship to Him, that nothing will stop them from achieving it. The heart that learns to die with Jesus will soon know the blessed experience of rising from the grace with Him, and all the interferences of life cannot stop it.