God doesn't like easy.
OWN. YOUR. FAITH.
What does it mean to own your faith?
In Matthew 5:14, Jesus teaches us, "You are the light of the world - like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden." God did not create us to blend in. If you look off in the distance to a city on top of a hill, you are going to see light. The amount of impact this light has on your eyes will depend on the size of the city. But, nonetheless, you won't be able to miss it on the horizon.
The same is true when you ask God to come into your heart. He brings light with him -- and you begin to shine. You are to use this light as a beacon for those around you. Just as a lighthouse can guide boats to safety, you can guide those you come into contact with.
Of course, this requires you to own your faith -- requiring you to stand tall and to be bold.
Unfortunately, many people find this is incredibly hard to do at times. Depending on your age, your career, your peers, and others, you may find standing up for your faith to be a daunting task. People are not always nice and - for those who are timid or fear confrontation -- keeping things private seems to be a lot easier.
But, God isn't private. And, God doesn't like easy.
Think about it. In life, anything that comes easy is not usually appreciated and cared for as those things that come with hard work, dedication, and precious time. For example, if you hand a teenager a stack of money, do you think he or she will spend it carelessly -- or put it aside to save up for a car? Or, how about the teen who works hard every day after school at a part-time job scooping ice cream to save up money for his or her first car? At the end, who will likely end up appreciating the outcome more?
There is no learning in easy.
Sure, God doesn't want to see you suffer and feel pain. I don't believe that is his intention. However, I do believe that sometimes we need to go through some hard work to get the reward. We need to do things that make us uncomfortable, to reach a place of comfort.
So, when God asks you to carry his light... to be the light - the city on a hill - for him... are you going to back down because it is too hard or uncomfortable? Are you going to let the naysayers or the critics get the best of you and make you lose out on this eternal comfort all because of a moment of difficulty?
I sure hope not. Because that would be like a conditional acceptance of all that God has to offer you. Like, hey, thanks, God. I'd love to have all the good things you will do for me and I will talk to you when I am alone. Just don't get upset if I don't pretend to know you when I am with my friends. They aren't Christians and I just don't feel like arguing. Uh, Peter denied Jesus and, well, I am not so sure that things ended well for him. This is not the best route for you to take. Read Luke 22:54-62. (Can you imagine lying about knowing Jesus and looking him in the eye?! It is hard to fathom. A powerful story for another day.)
The moral of the story? Just stand up and own your faith. Just as you own your possessions and you would want to protect them from someone coming in and taking them away from you -- own your faith. Protect it, nurture it, and stand up for it. Don't let anyone take that away from you or make you feel less than you are for having it.
"No one lights a lamp an then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house." - Matthew 5:15
Be an example.
Be the flicker of light that so many are just waiting to see.