Thursday, February 10, 2011

True Discipleship

Lk.14:25-33 - And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.
Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace.
So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.

Sobering words indeed. Do not the words of the Savior cast a convicting shadow over the shallow and self centered evangelicalism that is so often embraced by today’s western church? His words are not throwout lines for group discussions or Bible study ice breakers. These teachings go straight to the very core of what it means to be a Christian. This is no religious hobby that becomes a segment of a well rounded western lifestyle; this is the heart of being a true believing follower of Jesus Christ. But look around, and look inside as well. Does the passion and discipleship of the church reflect the definition of what it means to forsake all, or have we slowly but surely settled into a comfortable and convenient religious pattern that ultimately displays an open rebellion to the very teachings and model of the One we say we follow?
Only a blind man can read the New Testament and claim we are practicing its words and teachings. The question is can we allow God to break up the spiritual inertia that has most of the church immobilized even while they enjoy the benefits of the culture. Our church services are predictable and without the spiritual power that would justify our claims of meeting with God. Our churches are slick businesses complete with high paid staffs, sophisticated media venues, an array of all kinds of activities, mortgage payments, and all of it coated with short and impotent prayers that anyone would be embarrassed to describe with Paul’s word “labors”. It is quite ingenious.
But that cannot be what God desired when the Spirit descended with wind and fire. The devil changed his tactics, and Constantine removed the persecutions and tacitly embraced Christianity. And suddenly the church tasted the fruits of being an acceptable part of the culture and eventually they became part of that culture. And here we are in 2011 and with millions of professing believers who have little if any impact on the culture in which we live. In fact, some political movements like the Tea Party have a much greater impact on society than do the followers of Jesus. And yet the church remains unconcerned and placid and even contented to continue on the saltless road to lukewarmness. And in a breathless display of profound deception, much of the church does not even believe anything is wrong, except the conscience soothing mantra about the sins of the unsaved. Is this what we want? If it is then this is what we have.
But we must decide who Jesus is. Think about that for a while. Who is Jesus? Is Jesus the Creator of the entire universe including our own beings? Is Jesus the Master and Lord of our entire existence? Is He the only Redeemer? And are His words absolute truth without the dilution of cultural and linguistic manipulations? Is Jesus our very lives, or is He a component, or even an important component, that is showcased more vividly on Sunday mornings? Just who is this Jesus?
And when I ask who is Jesus I do not mean in the theological abstract. Everyone can recite the Apostle’s Creed as an answer to that question, but that is not what I am asking. Who is Jesus to YOU? I mean how does the reality of who He is manifest itself in our everyday lives? If the colossal nature of who He is does not translate in a colossal and remarkable metamorphosis of our lives then in reality He is still who He is but we do not believe it. Oh yes, let us not mince words since we have become very adept at that practice. We cannot have it both ways; Either we believe with all our hearts in the Lord Jesus Christ or we do not.
But what are some of the stumbling blocks in our lives that present small and great barriers to living a surrendered life? Here are a few:

* The western church structure and practice
* Television
* The tongue
* Money
* Family
* Self esteem
* Career
* Entertainment
* And other things

It is time to find our way back home, but that path is not well worn and can be accompanied with much scorn and with charges of divisiveness and self righteousness. To be sure your only reward will be your relationship with Him, but after all, isn’t that what we should be seeking.

1 comment:

Josef Sefton said...

If the colossal nature of who Jesus is does not translate in a colossal and remarkable metamorphosis of our lives then in reality He is still who He is, but
we do not believe Him! Rick Frueh