After the first class, my wife had to help me to the car. By the next day, I was so sore I could hardly move. What happened? I heard all about how good it was, but I don't remember hearing about the cost. Actually, to be fair, I do remember my wife mentioning that it was a real workout, and that I would have to commit to sticking with it. I just ignored the part about effort, pain, sacrifice, and endurance. All I heard was feel good, look good, and lose weight.
That is exactly how some people try to convince you to follow Jesus. They talk so much about the blessings of Christianity that we do not hear the real message. It is as if becoming a Christian will make you healthy, wealthy, and wise. That is not what Jesus ever said. He spoke of narrow, hard roads. He spoke of denying oneself, of being crucified with him, and of following him. He owned nothing, most people rejected him, and then they executed him like a common criminal.
Yet he lived a life of contentment, purpose, and peace. Then he rose from the dead. And he lives forever. He promises me the same. My life has peace, purpose, joy, and hope. It is not easy, but it is worth it. Even the pain of my life finds meaning and purpose in following Jesus. It takes a real commitment to follow Jesus. Sharing in his pain really does become my gain.