Shallow Soil, Shallow Faith #4: Persecution

In the orignal blog in this series, we discussed the spiritual condition of the rocky, shallow soil. In Jesus’ parable of the soils, this soil was a metaphor for those who had shallow, undeveloped faith, a group that may be at a spiritual epidemic in the American church today. Since their faith wasn’t developed, they ended up walking away from Christ and His church.
 
But why does this happen? What led them to abandon their relationship with God and the message of grace found in God’s word? In the second post in the series, we addressed the problem of shallowness that wasn’t able to fend off temptation, and surrendered to a life of sin.
 
In the third post, we considered the harsh reality of difficult periods of crisis and how they can shattered the shallow faith of the rocky soil.
 
Still, there is one particular area of testing which Jesus might have had in mind as he was explaining this story. “Time of trial” in Luke may be specifically denoting the threat of persecution, when in a literal way faith is being put on trial.

Jesus himself would confront that “time of trial” as he gave his life for the salvation of the world.

Many of his followers would confront the same threat. The possibilities of beatings, loss of a job, imprisonment, or even execution were real for the followers of Jesus.

In America, we have it easy. We cry persecution when public prayers are prohibited … when shop owners are fined for refusing to service “gay weddings” … when you may be called bigoted for taking a moral stand. I agree that all of these things are concerning, an indication of the drift of our country. But they are nothing like the persecution that others experience today around the world because of the stand that they take for their faith.

In America, has our faith become so soft, so shallow, that when confronted with cultural pressure, it is too easy to surrender Biblical principles so we won’t be called intolerant?  

Don’t get me wrong, the freedom of religion has been a tremendous blessing for Americans. But I have to wonder if that freedom hasn’t also had an unintended consequence of making our faith risk averse. We have become comfortable with our civil religion, one that fits nicely with the flow of our culture. We have no interest in being seen as “Jesus freaks”.

Yet, didn’t Jesus promise us that in this world we would have trouble? Didn’t he promise us that the world would hate us because it first hated him? Didn’t Peter say that we shouldn’t make ourselves at home in this world?

Some people choose to walk away from faith because they can’t live at peace with the world and with their faith … so they choose the world.