Tuesday, August 27, 2019

August 27, 2019

It’s free, but it will cost you everything. God’s grace through Jesus is free, but the life of discipleship will cost us everything.

If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.  For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.” Mark 8.34-35

The story is told of someone who asked a pastor what their church offered to newcomers in terms of programs, ministries, and services; in essence, what did the church offer for them. The pastor’s answer was shocking: “if you come to our church, we’ll kill you.” The individual responded, “I assume you are kidding.” “Not at all,” replied the pastor. He explained that following Christ and participating in a church is not like going to a store and selecting what you want, but rather it is giving yourself away in service and sacrifice. Following Christ and participating in His church is an invitation to come and die to self.

Most of us are immersed in a culture focused on self-gratification. Life’s necessities are relatively easy to obtain, freeing us for the pursuit of pleasure, leisure, and entertainment. This consumer mentality is not absent from discipleship 
expectation and church involvement: “what’s in it for me?” Jesus’ response is come and deny, come and die, come and follow me unquestionably. Nothing is more difficult, or challenging.

I am all too aware of my own discipleship shortcomings. I am strong-willed (to be really honesty, stubborn!) Submission does not come easily. Self-interest is much too prominent. The cultural environment I live in has likely influenced me more than I have influenced it. But, regardless of failings, the discipleship call of Jesus remains. Today is the day to commit anew to His radical call.

Perhaps as an appeal to our human nature, Jesus says, For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.” Who isn’t concerned about self-preservation? It is human nature to want what’s best for self. So, how do we save our lives? Ironically, by losing our lives for Christ. To get we must give up.

No matter how challenging, may we find the ultimate joy and fulfillment that comes from committing ourselves anew to being radical disciples of Jesus. 



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