I am in a Precepts study in the second part of the book of Matthew this Spring. There are no more haunting words in the Bible to me than the words of Jesus that talk about us denying Him before men. We live in such a lazily safe culture for meager faith. It costs us basically nothing (save for snickers or arguments) and produces such an anemic faith that cannot even crawl.
Fear captivates our hearts here while in countries where the cost is so great for faith, Followers of Christ move and act in boldness and joy in the midst of harsh suffering. What most of us call a Christian life is not. It is a label of tradition that makes us feel safe and righteous.
What does Jesus say is the mark of one with faith? Matthew lays out to a Jewish audience several things Jesus conveyed. Repentance from sin, humility knowing that we have no resource to bring to God, following after Him and His ways (which include submission, suffering, death), lack of fear, hungering and thirsting for His righteousness, lack of popularity, service, faith, being abandoned by one’s family.
“you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.”M10:22
“Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” M 10:39
“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?” M 16:24-26
“Blessed is the one who is not offended by me.” M 11:6
I do not know about you, but those words are chilling to my bones. This is serious. This is not a half-hearted life Jesus is calling people to. His words leave no room for doubt. Either you follow totally or you don’t. There is no cultural following, no day to day flip-flop, no convenient gospel. It is by His redemption and righteousness that we live in the hope He gives us. We bring nothing to the table (Romans 3), with repentance and faith, he gives us life to live FULLY in Him. We are constantly seeking Him to show us ways in which we need to die to ourselves and live to Him. That is where true life is found.
This is not meant to be an exhaustive article on following Him. My question today is where do you see yourself in the light of these truths? Offended by Him? Self-protective of your rights and what is not fair in your life? Seeking to be admired and praised by men? My prayer is that we examine ourselves in the light of these truths–of what He puts forth, repent of our self-protecting, self-promoting hearts and cling and lean into the righteousness of Christ.
3 thoughts on “All or nothing–There is no in-between.”
Jennifer,after reading your last post I think of your Mom and Dad and you so very seldom saw them without a smile on their face,they were “happy Christians”And God wants us to be happy Christians,so may often touch more lives by sharing the joy of being a child of the King.Your remark “What most of us ccall a Christian life is not”is offensive to those of us who work hard everyday to be what God wants us to be and if you do not sin and fall short every day,that is scarey.Most all of are given a cross to carry,some larger than others but if we give it all to HIM we will survive,if we don’t we won’t survive.You are not alone in this journey and my heart hurts for you but I think God has more for you that being so sad and not letting others help you and you in turn might be able to help someone else.Mark 9:23 tell us to ‘believe’,we did we saw His miracles and we still focus on ‘believing’.I would love to sit down and talk to you face to face and I think talking to Betsy would help.We cannot shut a door that God wants opened, because He will open it anyway. I love you, Bobbye Carol
thank you for your care and concern for me through the blog. The one thing about blogging is it gives a one dimensional view especially if one is a writer like me:). The intent of the last blog was to point out scripture that the spirit has been pointing out to me about what God’s word says about the cost of discipleship. I, in no way, meant to convey that I had this down or was sinful. I see more and more of my sin everyday and cling to Him in the midst for Christ’s righteousness is my only hope. It may not be conveyed here, especially in the heaviness of the last few entries, but I am walking with women that are pouring Christ into me that have dealt with infertility and adoption and am also giving my life away to pour into young women. I am actually at the beach by myself to grieve with God, examine my heart, grow in Him and paint right now. Most of the time I do have a smile on my face clinging to the hope I have in our gracious Savior. Maybe in the next few months we can get together and talk. I do believe that God is not finished with our lives and especially our hearts in this process. I am learning he is so muh bigger than I can fathom and he has this daughter in his arms lovingly making me more like him. As far as the comment about most Christians, I probably did not convey that well. I was thinking in the light of those scriptures listed that the landscape of what is said and preached and lived by the majority repells suffering instead of knowing that god uses it to shape and mold us into his likeness. We both know there are a lot of people who may claim christ but not live in him as he commanded. He says we will be known by our fruit—not perfection but submission to he and his ways and then being filled with the spirit to respond with the fruit of the spirit. I did not mean to write a book but just wanted to convey the heart behind it. My tendency I not to write a post like this one because it does tend to offend all of us because they are uncomfortable scriptures. However, as a people pleaser by nature, I know that these are ways god is calling me to deny myself by declaring his truth. How I present it may not be perfect—the only part that’s perfect is his word listed within. Thank you again.
Hi Jennifer-I pray the time at the beach was just what you needed.It always renews me because we see His handiwork in such a tremendous way with the beauty and the fierceness of the ocean.The summer right after chemo ended was the only time I have just not breathed it all in.My body could not tolerate the heat and I was so self conscious of myself.Through this journey I am being able to cleam to be content in all things.That isn’t always easy but I am working on it.Please accept my apolgy if I offended you.My heart is just heavy for you but we can rest assured that it is all part of His plan.I will be praying for you and it would be wonderful to sit and talk with you. Love and GOd bless, Bobbye Carol