The other amazing part about CYFM is that it gave me a Christ-centered community to be involved with. It was a place to go where I was appreciated for my faith. I wasn't negatively labeled for my faith. But rather, people found it awesome that I love Jesus. One of the greatest feelings is to be appreciated for faith. CYFM was a place where I could so around saying "I LOVE JESUS!" and I wouldn't have to worry about what others would think because everyone around me would say "I LOVE JESUS!" too. But what about what would happen when I would leave the doors of CYFM?
Faith has always been a part of my life, and I was involved with youth group, so I would share that I have faith. But it wasn't always easy for me to openly state that I love Jesus simply because of fear. I was judged before, so I figured I would be judged again. However, the more I fell in love with Jesus, the harder it became to not share it. So I would openly talk about my faith and share what it means to me. But sharing my faith wasn't and isn't always rainbows and butterflies. What it comes down to is that being a christian isn't for wimps.
As Christians, we are called to be people in whom and through whom Christ lives. We are to go out and share the love of Christ and to love without limit. We are to teach others about what life with Christ is like in a loving, respectful way. We're not here to shove it down people's throats. But we're here to preach the gospel at all times and use words when necessary. However, it's not always easy to do this. In my experience, I have been labeled and judged. I have been called the Jesus freak. I've been looked down upon because of my faith. I've been made fun of. I've had boys who were pursuing me stop because I was a "Jesus freak." I have been persecuted for not conforming to society.
So why put up with it? Because Jesus is worth it and He put up with it first.
“If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first.
If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own;
but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world,
the world hates you. Remember the word I spoke to you,
‘No slave is greater than his master.’
If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.
If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.
And they will do all these things to you on account of my name,
because they do not know the one who sent me.
If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin;
but as it is they have no excuse for their sin.
Whoever hates me also hates my Father.
If I had not done works among them that no one else ever did, they would not have sin;
but as it is, they have seen and hated both me and my Father.
But in order that the word written in their law might be fulfilled,
‘They hated me without cause.’
When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father,
the Spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me.
And you also testify, because you have been with me from the beginning."
- John 15:18-27
When people persecute you, think of the joy that Jesus brings. Think of the peace, the healing, the hope and the good that life with Him brings. Think of all those moments of grace in your life. Think of all the God moments in your life. Think of the good. All of that is worth it. It's not easy and it can be easy to want to give up. But nothing of this world can satisfy us the way Christ can. Life with Him is better. In Him there is hope. In Him there is peace. In Him there is life.
What do we do when people persecute us? According to Jesus:
"And as for those who do not welcome you,
when you leave that town,
shake the dust from your feet in testimony against them."
- Luke 9:5-6
Shake it off. Let it roll of your shoulder. Shake the dust from your feet. Don't let them get to you. "Love your enemies and pray for those that persecute you." - Matthew 5:44. Love them anyway. Forgive. The biggest revenge is to forgive someone and show them that you love them.
It's not easy. But don't be afraid to afraid to take the step and show the world that you walk by faith. Don't be ashamed of your faith. People may judge you and people may persecute you. Love them anyway. It's not easy. But it's worth it. Life with Christ is worth it. He is enough. He is all we need. Live for Him. Don't be afraid. Jackie Francois once said: "You might be the only gospel someone will read."
"So what are you waiting for?
What do you have to lose?
Your insecurities try to alter you
You know you're made for more
So don't be afraid to move
Your faith is all
It takes and you can
Walk on the water too"
- Britt Nicole
Go out, share your faith and show them we are Christians by our love. Set the world on fire. It's not easy. But being a Christian isn't for wimps. You are never alone.