A Downward Spiral

On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”

Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life. Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.”

From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. John 6:60-66

This goes against the subtle teaching in the church that if you commit your life to Christ all will go well in your life. It was certainly strong and a hard teaching then and not much has changed. People fell away because they thought it would be easy; they thought it would not require work and determination.

Throughout the Gospels is another thread of truth: count the cost of following Jesus. Granted, we really don’t know what that means when we “sign up” for the Christian life. But when times are exceedingly tough, we should not be surprised either.

We have also seen time and again that when persecution comes to a nation, the church gets stronger. It’s clearly during this time that the “rubber meets the road.” When Believers must sneak around in secret to hold meetings, the less committed will cease; and the very committed will risk their lives to help others.

You don’t need to be a prophet or a “doom and gloom” person to see that the West is on a serious decline economically, morally, and spiritually. We tend to look at the economics because they are so obvious, but the terrible economic policies of nations are merely a reflection of the moral and spiritual slide they’ve taken.

Wherever you are, pray for the country you are in. Pray that the light of Christ will continue to illuminate the hearts and minds of leaders and the decisions they make.

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