The Cost of Belief

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Contend:To strive in opposition or against difficulties; struggle

Earnestly: being very sincere; putting forth genuine effort

Jude 3 ASV
Beloved, while I was giving all diligence to write unto you of our common salvation, I was constrained to write unto you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered unto the saints.
Most, if not all, things that are of value and importance has a cost.
The cost could be money or the cost may require a considerable amount of time, effort, or dedication.
Today we are going to look at the cost or our belief in terms of
1 Corinthians 16:13 ESV
Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.

1. Adversity

The cost of belief often involves the trial of adversity (A state of hardship or affliction; misfortune)
James 1:2–4 ESV
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
We live in a society- especially in the western world, that seeks to avoid adversity and trials at all cost.
But James says that we should count it all joy when we encounter trials of various kinds - why And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
1 Peter 4:14–15 ESV
If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler.

2. Selflessness

The cost of belief often involves sacrificing of ourselves
Need to have a servant attitude
Philippians 2:3 ESV
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
Galatians 5:13 ESV
For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
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Psychology Professor Dr. Laurie Santos, whose one-time-only class ‘Psychology and the Good Life’ is the most popular course ever offered at Yale University
Our brains lie to us about what makes us happy
Jeremiah 17:9 ESV
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?
For adults its may mean pursuing money or success at work
1 Timothy 6:10 ESV
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.
For teens it may be mean focusing on the perfect grades and getting into the best college - The problem isn’t that we’re not putting work into feeling better — it’s that we’re doing the wrong things, prioritizing the wrong behaviors.”
Instead of focusing on reaching a financial milestone or perfect GPA, aim to program your brain with thoughts and behaviors that make you feel better - Regularly connecting with friends, taking care of your health and learning how to accept negative emotions all contribute more significantly to your wellbeing than having the right job, car or relationships,
“I think the biggest misconception is that our happiness is based on our circumstances,”
Philippians 4:7 ESV
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
1 Timothy 6:7–8 ESV
for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.
Matthew 6:33 ESV
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

3. Persecution

The cost of belief often entails dealing with abuse, ridicule, and persecution
Romans 8:35–36 ESV
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
Some Christians read this and say “Never say what you won’t do..”
The cost of belief is often unknown until it’s faced
They have doubt that they would stand up to persecution, danger, the threats, etc.
The cost of belief is often unknown until it’s faced
Is your faith in God a recreational, casual, convenient kind of faith. If so then you are right to say “never say what you won’t do”
Instead pray that when this time occurs that you have sufficient strength do endure the persecution.
Matthew 5:10–12 ESV
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

4. Faithfulness

The cost of belief often requires constant spiritual diligence and faithfulness
2 Timothy 1:13–14 RSV
Follow the pattern of the sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus; guard the truth that has been entrusted to you by the Holy Spirit who dwells within us.
Galatians 2:20 ESV
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
The cost of belief often involves the trial of adversity
sacrificing of ourselves
Dealing with abuse, ridicule, and persecution
And requires constant spiritual diligence and faithfulness
Matthew 25:23 ESV
His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’
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