Don't know what's happening in me these days. I am having a struggle between wanting to turn off the radio dial playing in my head that calls me to a “sold out” for Christ lifestyle and one that straddles the fence. One that allows me to keep busy with my hobbies that are so much fun for me to do and yet seem to be stealing me away from the Cause of Christ. One that allows me to “tune in to the voice of the Lord” when, and if I want to, and One that demands that I yield complete control to Him.
I have been reading so much lately about dying to self. One of my heroes of the faith, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a pastor who was martyred at the end of WWII, said that “When Christ calls us to follow Him, He calls us to die.” That's a somewhat uncomfortable thought, to say the least. Which is why we don't hear it spoken from too many pulpits in America these days!
But, in the church outside of America, where persecution, even to the point of death, is a common occurrence, I believe this concept is well understood and accepted. In the face of that depth of commitment and sacrifice, how can I really justify demanding the right to ignore the priorities that the Gospel sets before me?
Even I am surprised at the battle this is waging in my life. I would like to think I have this all wrapped up – no problem – just name it, Lord and I'll give it up! But, such is not the case. I am a true child of American culture, often pampered and expecting to have a “happy” life filled with pursuits of my choosing. After all, our founding fathers guaranteed us the 'inalienable right to life, liberty AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS” - right?! If we take that line of thinking too far, we can justify any behavior as our inalienable right “in the pursuit of happiness!” Maybe that's what's going on these days. We can do anything we want – God wants us to be happy! Is that true? Somebody I respect in the world of christian leadership once said, “No, God doesn't want us to be happy. He wants us to grow up!” Ouch!
As I have struggled with these uncomfortable thoughts, I have found myself really wanting to bargain with the Lord, pretty much saying, “Well, okay, Lord, I'll give You THIS, if You'll give me THAT.”
He, the One that I call, Lord, has repeatedly called me to something higher. It absolutely brings me to tears to hear the Lord calling me to “Come, Follow Me!” Matthew 4:19 “Go, sell everything you have...and come and follow ME!” Mark 10:21 I cannot pretend I don't hear Him. I cannot turn off His voice. He still calls His people to the cause of the Gospel. And it still costs us everything we have...
“For the Love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died, and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.” 2 Corinthians 5: 14, 15
All scripture references are from the New King James Version of the Bible.