In one of my recent posts, one of the comments made me think. I appreciated his candor and openness so please do not think this is in any way critical of him. On the contrary, his comment hits home.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer is credited with saying, “When Jesus calls a man, he bids him come and die.” (Cost of Discipleship)
It seems that the whole idea of dying to self is long gone in much of today’s church world. Look around and many (myself included) are enjoying a “good life.” Of course, there are those who are REALLY enjoying a good life, especially those who get rich off others. Yeah, I am talking about the TV dudes/dudettes who spout off their aberrant prosperity garbage.
BUT THERE IS ALSO ANOTHER DAMAGING PHILOSOPHY BEING SPOUTED OFF.
It is the teaching that we can do whatever we want-without sorrow, without repentance, without giving up anything. It is the old “license” thing: do whatever you want, ask God to forgive you, and He will. Tragically,
many almost all use it as a license to just go ahead and do whatever it was without any consequence. What a crock! What a trap! Allow me to use a biblical example.
In I Kings 19 Elijah came looking for a successor to his ministry. Elisha was the man, but when found he was in the field plowing with 12 yoke of oxen. That gives you and indication of his wealth. I wonder if Elijah approached him with safeguards up and a wary eye. To follow God meant Elisha would be leaving a lot behind-his family, his friends, his wealth, his career. When Elisha heard the invitation to follow, he did some incredible stuff. He slaughtered his 24 oxen. He then got together all of his farm plows and lit them on fire. He BBQd the oxen for the community and served it all up. He was serving notice that he was leaving it all and would not be looking back. I have never plowed looking backwards (I am from Pittsburgh after all), but I have tried cutting grass by looking backwards. That line was as crooked as a dog’s hind leg.
WHEN GOD CALLS A MAN HE BIDS HIM COME AND DIE.
Never, never, never, were we promised an easy path. Never are we told, “Come to me and you would be okay. Everything you touch will be blessed. Everything you try will be blessed.” (Contrary to popular religious thought) Being a Christ-follower is hard. It is meant to cost us something…no make that everything. Everything we hold dear. Everything we aspire for, to be, to accomplish may all be laid to waste. Jesus wants our whole-hearted affection. Confession: I am nowhere near that.
Where do you find yourself these days? Do you struggle with this whole surrender idea? Are you a follower not a fan of Jesus?