Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Worth Quoting #12 Call to Discipleship

From The Wonder-Working God by Jared C. Wilson:

Where we get the idea that Christianity excludes suffering, I don’t rightly know. It likely comes mostly from our flesh, from our prideful idolization of comfort and pleasure. It comes somewhat from just plain ol’ crappy doctrine. It certainly does not come from the Bible. 

In the story of the man whose house is built on the rock (Matt. 7:24-27), the firm foundation does not keep the storm away. In fact, according to the Scriptures, being a Christian means being willing to take on more suffering than the average person. Not only must we endure the same pains, stresses, and diseases of every other mortal, but we agree to take on the added burden of insults, hardships, and persecutions on account of our faith. 

Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes: "The cross is laid on every Christian. The first Christ-suffering which every man must experience is the call to abandon the attachments of this world. It is that dying of the old man which is the result of his encounter with Christ. As we embark upon discipleship we surrender ourselves to Christ in union with his death— we give over our lives to death. Thus it begins; the cross is not the terrible end to an otherwise god-fearing and happy life, but it meets us at the beginning of our communion with Christ. When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die." (Cost of Discipleship, 99)

The call to discipleship, in other words, is not an invitation for one of those popular Christian cruises. I can see the advertisement in the Christian magazine now:

Jesus! Shuffleboard! Seafood Buffet! Join Jesus Christ and twelve other influential teachers for seven luxurious days and six restful nights on the maiden voyage of our five-star, five-story ship of dreams, the S.S. Smooth Sailing. Enjoy karaoke with your favorite psalmists on the lido deck or splash your cares away in our indoor water park with a safe crowd of people who look just like you! 

Instead, Jesus calls us into nasty crosswinds in a boat specifically designed to make us trust totally in him. And if the boat even appears to offer safety from the waves, Jesus may actually call us out of it and into the sea (Matt. 14:29). But in either place, he will be there with us, not to help us worry but to help us believe. Thus, it is imperative that we have our theology straight before we even get in the boat.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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