This is specifically written for our Bible Study group on Weds. nights… but feel free to read on if you happen to stroll by…
We had great discussion last night and I wanted to hit on something that I know will make us all step back for a minute or two. Two points, that really are an extension of each other were made by Idleman.
- “There is no way to follow Jesus without him intefering with your life.”
- “Following Jesus will cost you something. Following Jesus always costs something.”
I was brought up in a church culture that taught me the very opposite. The idea of God’s free gift of grace was given to me at no charge. He made a way for me to have a relationship with him in such a way that it was almost like getting a “get out of jail free” card in Monopoly. It was often followed up with, “it’s that easy, so what’s stopping you from accepting Jesus now?”
Ok, first of all. Yes God’s gift of grace is free to us, but it cost Him dearly. The fact that Jesus had to come and give his very life signals to us that it is more valuable than a free chicken sandwich card from Chic-fil-a… right! And the whole notion that just beause we ultimately didn’t have to pay the due punishment for our sin (because Jesus did) doesn’t mean that were just using a buddy pass to fly into heaven. To be a true disciple will cost you dearly.
Luke 9:23 Then he said to them, “If anone would come after me (AKA be a “follower”), he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”
Luke 9:59-60 He said to another man, “Follow me.” But the man replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury the dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
Not to mention… Matthew 5:43-48, 7:1-2, 19:23-24; Luke 21:1-4; John 6:60-67; Philippians 3:7-11; James 1:22; etc, etc, etc…
Some mentioned last night some pretty big sacrifices you had to make in order to follow Christ. Literally, some of you are being obedient to Jesus’ words in Luke 9 above and had to sacrifice your family in the process of living out your faith. When I hear your stories of sacrificing family, friends and popularity it makes me realize that I am in the room with the right people.
Becky brought up a good point at the end of the conversation that I wanted to make a few follow up comments about. She brings us to the reality that it doesn’t always have to cost us in “outward” ways, even though it may. What about the “inward” price we must pay to be a disciple. How should God interfere with our lives and what should it cost us in the inward life? This is sometimes harder than sacrificing outward things because of the nature of its intimacy and secret nature to us personally.
Paul, after comparing the sinful nature to life in the Spirit challenges all believers with this: “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.” -Galatians 5:24
The highest price we will ever pay in being a disciple is that of personal holiness. To “crucify” our desires means to literally and wilfully kill that part of our person. Death is never painless or comfortable, but necessary in the life of a disciple. So, as you go about your week think on these things.
What part of my most inward self is Jesus wanting to interfere with this week? Then you need to make a decision to just be a “hearer” of His truth or to be a “doer” (James 1:22). Know that Becky and I are here to serve you along this incredible journey. We were never meant to travel alone, so let us know how we can pray and keep you accountable as Christ invades every part of you lives.