Friday, October 12, 2012

Losing it All

"I could not help but think that somewhere along the way we had missed what is radical about our faith and replaced it with what is comfortable. We (are) settling for a Christianity that revolves around catering to ourselves when the central message of Christianity is actually about abandoning ourselves."                                                                                                                                       - David Platt - from "Radical: Taking your faith back from the American dream"

 One of my inspirations lately has been the book, Radical by David Platt. The quote above, taken directly from chapter 1 of Platt's piece, is a blunt statement that may or may not cut truth into many American Christians today. I however, see so much truth to this statement, as I do all throughout Platt's work. So many churches and church-goers in today's society are worried about the comfort of their church-going experience. This, however is only one aspect to the above statement. What about our priorities? Are we catering to the comfort of ourselves here too? 

As Christians, we spend a lot of our time simply keeping other Christians, and ourselves, happy. There is a constant debate over pews vs. chairs, hymns vs. contemporary music - along with many other of the lesser cliche debates throughout churches today. Sadly, this removes the point of our mission. Does God really call us to make ourselves content?

Absolutely not.

Luke 14: 26 -27:  "If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.  And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple."

Whoa... This may be our first reaction to this passage. The American way would be to soften these words, and we do. "God didn't really mean that. He actually meant....(insert personal meaning here)." Or, "That was then, this is now." But think about our position as Christians. Really, really think about it. As a Christian, I'm supposed to believe the Bible is full of truth and heed it's very words. Our society fights this. 

When we really look at the words of Luke 14: 26-27, and sort out its meaning, you'll find it is more blunt than you would like. Does God really mean we are to hate our family? In the Greek language, the word "hate" or "miseo" means "to love less by comparison". This section is about priority. We see in Matthew 22: 36 that the Greatest Commandment is the "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your mind, and all your soul..." Then we read,  "Love your neighbor as yourself." God #1, each other second. God instructs us to love. Thus in Luke we are to put God as #1. 

Then we read in Luke 14: 27 that we have to carry our cross daily to follow Christ. Loyalty. We need to choose to lose ourselves on a daily basis to follow Christ. A cross is a way of death. If you are carrying your cross, you're on your way to death. You are done making life plans, having dreams, etc. Thus, Christ is saying here, we need to LOSE ourselves daily for Him. Surrender our dreams, our hopes, our plans to Him. Matthew 10:37 tells us that "whoever loses their lives for My sake will find it."

The question that remains now is: What will you do about this? As a Christian, are you willing to lose everything for a God Who is worth everything? Do you know what the cost of following Christ is? Really? Are you willing to give it all for Him on a daily basis? Have you come to Christ on HIS terms and not on your terms, or the terms of our society? Salvation is not a checklist. Jesus never said you need to volunteer in ministries to have salvation; or pray this prayer; or sign a card that you are a believer. No. It takes losing ourselves and carrying our crosses on a daily basis.

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