One of Sesame Street’s most well-known songs is “Bein’ Green.” In the song, Kermit begins with a lament about his color and how it blends in with so many things. As he contemplates his situation, and other things that are green, though, he realizes that green is beautiful and he’s glad he’s green. The song is a great reminder that we need to accept ourselves as God created us, and seek the best from where we are. That being said, the truth still holds that it’s not easy being green.
I wonder sometimes if people think it’s easy to follow God. There are those who seem to proclaim that if you follow God it’s an instant path to riches. Well, maybe not instant, but pretty quick. Sickness and disease, in their eyes, are nothing more than a manifestation of your lack of faith. So, what can faith bring in the life of a believer? Are you ready for this? “…There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.” (Hebrews 11:35b-38)
As the writer of Hebrews is describing the results of faith in that famous “faith” chapter in Hebrews he reminds his audience that while faith brings great rewards, it can also bring great persecution. Persecution that exists today, but, thankfully, not here in America. We may be inconvenienced at time because we believe, but no one is burning our homes, kicking us out of jobs, or beheading us here because of our faith. The question is, would it make a difference to your belief system if we were undergoing persecution? We are so accustomed to Christianity being dominant in our culture that joining a church makes life easier. We make good business contacts. We gain status in the community. Now, as the country moves away from even the appearance of Christianity many Christians are feeling inconvenienced and we see a falling away. Oh, the names are still on the church rolls, but the attendance isn’t there. The commitment is gone. We don’t proclaim our church affiliation to others. We don’t want people to think we’re “naïve” or “gullible” for believing in God.
It was said of those early saints and prophets that the world was not worthy of them. Perhaps the problem we have in the church today is that we think our main criteria is being worthy of the world rather than setting a standard in our lives that makes those around us realize that something is missing. We too easily accommodate the ways of the world into our lives, often having no trouble making the choice to “put God on the back burner” so that we can get ahead in business. Sometimes we spiritualize that desire for worldly success by claiming God’s blessings – even when those “blessings” have been obtained in an ungodly way. God sets before us the choice each day of whether we want to be worthy of the world, or whether we want the world to be unworthy of us. The only way that we can live in a world that is unworthy of us is to live each day in faith, following God’s way no matter what the consequences may be. These early prophets didn’t know Christ, but knew something was better ahead of them. We know Christ and can imagine our life walking with Him on earth and living with Him in heaven. Are you worthy of the world, or do you live in a world unworthy of you? The choice is yours.
Lord God, how easily I make room for the applause of the world, for a world that approves of my life. Remind me of my eternal life with You. Remind me to live eternally each and every day.