It is fairly painless and easy to profess faith and live as a Christian in America. We have been blessed to live in a Christianized culture that still retains the values, to some extent, that were passed down by previous generations. People might not understand why we are Christians but they usually do not create problems for us because of our profession.
This is not the case in many parts of the world. In his book, Speaking of Jesus, J. Mack Stiles tells the story of the hardship and triumph of a young man from Kenya. Stiles, who became an area director for InterVarsity was in Kenya preaching the gospel to some students. Afterwards, a student named Robert came and indicated he wanted to receive Christ. Stiles went over the gospel with him and it became apparent that Robert had heard it many times before. When Stiles asked Robert what had prevented him from becoming a Christian earlier, this was his response:
“Robert looked down at the clay. He made circles in the dust with his foot. ‘My father has told me that if I become a Christian, he will beat me. Tonight…I will bleed.’”
Stiles was shocked but prayed with the young man and introduced him to some local Christians. That day Stiles left Kenya and never saw Robert again.
There is a cost to following Jesus in many parts of the world today. We have brothers and sisters like Robert who have counted the cost, taken up their cross and followed Christ (Luke 9:23). By the grace of God they have determined that the short times of suffering in this life are not worthy to be compared to the glory that awaits them in Christ Jesus ( Romans 8:18).
Two years later Mack Stiles was at a mission’s conference and the speaker was someone who had recently returned from a trip to Kenya. She spoke of a young man who said Mack Stiles had led him to Christ. He wanted Mack to know that he was still following Christ. He had become the leader of the Christian campus group and was leading others to count the cost and follow the Savior.
Remember your brothers and sisters who have counted the cost and pay the price to follow our Lord. Pray for them and pray for grace that you too would be willing to count the cost to follow Christ.