"At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that they had done these things to him." (John 12:16)

'Only after', are just two little words in the Bible, but they are words we all need to heed. Only after death, will we realize that all the things written about Christ are true, and we'd better be prepared to meet Him face to face. Only after accepting Christ into our hearts, can we truly expect to enter into His everlasting Kingdom. Only after struggling with faith, wrestling with our pride, and surrendering our souls to Jesus, can we be saved from our sins. Only after we do these things, can God restore us to His favor.

But we don't want to hear or read these things. We don't want to face up to the Christian reality that Christ died for all, but only many are saved. We don't want to be preachy around our families or friends; we don't want to be taken for fanatics or criticized for being narrow minded. We want everybody to be happy. We want everybody to be given everlasting life for free.

But the grace of God is never that cheap and comes at a great cost to Himself. Who are we to think that we can make God do what we want? Are we gods? Are we in charge of the universe? Do we really think that God revolves around our lives? Is our faith so superficial and our beliefs so shallow, to really think that to get into heaven all we have to do is turn up at the Pearly Gates?

It's only after giving our faith serious contemplation that we realize there's more to it than that. If it were really that easy, then Jesus could have stayed away from Jerusalem and avoided the Cross. Do we honestly think that God will put up with setting Him aside and disrespecting the sacrifice His Son made? Are we really that arrogantly minded and self-centered to think more of ourselves than Jesus?

Christianity is a discipled faith, which means that it takes a disciplined life to fulfill. We worship God on Sundays, not because we choose to, but because we have to. We read our scriptures, not because we like them, but because we need to live them. And we bring our prayers to God in Christ's name, not because we want something, but because Christ wants something from us - obedience, respect, honor, and praise.

Some of you will have found this devotional tough to read today. Only after reflecting upon it and seriously giving it thought, will you see the truth, know the way, and find Christ's life. Our faith was never meant to be easy, and grace, amazing though it is, was never meant to be cheap.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, only after Your death and resurrection took place, did faith, hope, and love truly come into our world. Only after You gave up everything for us, could everything be given to us. Only after we accept You as Lord of our lives and Savior of our souls, can we be granted complete forgiveness and everlasting life. And only after we tell others about You, can those other people be given this miraculous opportunity. Be with us and help us. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.

John Stuart