I am attempting to write this post in transparency and humility, in the hopes that some of you can identify with my struggles. I truly want to be an honest follower of Christ, and for me that means no deceit or deception -- with Jesus; my fellow Christians; or with myself. This is about trying to be genuinely righteous and humble. So, let me get right to the point...
I know that being a true Christian in these times is difficult. The culture and the world are not on our side, and the Enemy appears to be winning on so many fronts. Having lived in relative comfort and ease for so long, we have taken the blessings of our faith for granted. We have been able to declare ourselves Christians without any real challenge to live the Christian life. We have been able to wear the title of Christian, and it has cost us nothing in this land of freedom and prosperity, and [in Church terms} "easy, cheap grace". But, as times are getting harder, and the future isn't as guaranteed as we've become accustomed to, we find our "faith muscles" weak and we react in ways and words that don't support what we tell the world and each other -- that we are obedient followers of Christ.
Believe me, I am not excluding myself from this scrutiny
because I believe it is so important that we all take a good hard look
in the spiritual mirror. Am I genuine in my faith? Or am I a hypocrite,
or a "poser"? Do I wear a "Christian mask" when in the company of my
fellow Church members, and then would be unrecognizable as such in my
own home or at work? Of late, I have been humbling myself before the Lord because I am saddened at the number of Christians whom I see [and truly love] who are so desperate to appear dedicated to God, yet behind the scenes of their everyday lives, there is bitterness, loneliness, self-criticism and secrets that hinder their identity in Christ. And I come before the Lord in humbleness because I do not want to hold myself above any other. Repentance is a constant in my life as I battle against my sinful nature like any other Christian. I want to walk in this world as a genuine disciple of my Lord. The time is coming when true disciples will be needed to show the way to unbelievers and believers, alike.
It is obvious to me that there is a tension building in the nation and among the faithful. For those who cling to the world and not to Christ [and sadly, that includes some self-professed Christians], a spirit of fear is beginning to take hold. All the foundations of the world [which we have come to rely on] are unsteady and no one knows whether they will withstand the pressure. But when we call ourselves Christians, do we not rely on our faith in Jesus and His promises to be the foundation of our lives? Is He not to be our strength and our deliverance when the world turns upside down? That is when we will know if we have what it takes to be called a disciple of Christ.
Jesus and the Bible make it clear that there is a cost to becoming a disciple. He clearly tells us that we must be willing to take up our cross and give up everything to follow Him. It isn't an option. It's a requirement. We must be willing to give up all our worldly goods, our homes, our families and relationships, and even our lives. "Salvation is free, but discipleship will cost you your life". Those are the wise words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, pastor of the Confessing Church during Hitler's demonic reign in Germany, and he should know. He was hung for daring to come in opposition to the diabolical Third Reich. He also said, "Christianity without discipleship is always Christianity without Christ." This backs up Jesus's statement to a large crowd who had come to hear Him teach, "So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be My disciple".
As the world hurtles toward the return of our Righteous King, I pray that I will have the strength and heart to bear my cross, whatever it may look like. I pray that I can be a source of encouragement for my fellow Christians as we stand together as true disciples of Christ -- not to appear more holy than others, but in pure motivation to glorify the Name of Jesus. I understand that I can do nothing to accomplish this on my own, but I put my trust in the Holy Spirit to guide me and counsel me in all my ways and for all my days. Lord, whether you come back tomorrow, next year, or a thousand years from now, I need your help to walk in righteousness and humility. Help all of us to turn away from the world and follow the examples of the 12 disciples who willingly left their lives behind and simply obeyed when you said, "Follow Me". Help us all to drop our masks, and live authentic lives as Your true disciples --- repenting when we sin, picking up our cross each day, pursuing God's righteous character, and pointing the way to eternal life and the Kingdom through our words and deeds, boasting only of the Glory of God in our lives.
#Discipleship #Costofdiscipleship #DiscipleofChrist
Philippians 3:12 Not that I have already obtained it [this goal of being Christlike] or have already been made perfect, but I actively press on so that I may take hold of that [perfection] for which Christ Jesus took hold of me and made me His own.