Tuesday, November 27, 2012

AD Living as an American

Do you ever think about how blessed we are to be on the AD side of the Bible? Still, how come we have the Bible available in multiple formats and always accessible yet we struggle with our faith?  How much faith would it have taken to be a disciple of Jesus before the Holy Spirit? Think about His phrase "you must take up your cross and follow me". We have the benefit of seeing that phrase through the AD lens. We hear the words "take up your cross" and immediately our minds go to Jesus dying on the cross and how He calls us to follow Him by dying to ourselves. But what do you think the disciples thought about that phrase? Jesus hadn't died on the cross yet. Their reference for the cross would be the cruelty of the Roman soldiers and the death of the vilest of criminals. To us the cross is almost romanticized because we know our beloved Savior hung there to save us from an eternity without Him but the disciples wouldn't have that view as Jesus was speaking. I'm a few pages into a book called Radical by David Platt. (Fabulous book!) He says that it would be the same equivalent as hearing someone say to us "take up your electric chair". When I think electric chair my mind goes to two places 1) immense and deadly amounts of pain and 2) the people who die in them. It doesn't make sense to me to pick up my electric chair because I'm not a murderer.  What faith it took for the disciples to take up their cross and for us to take up our electric chair!

The more I study and the more I read and listen to podcasts by men like Francis Chan and David Platt the more I realize how I have bought into the American way of doing Christianity.  The faith requirement is so low as an American Christian.  That somehow "take up my cross" has come to mean "giving your 10% tithe" or "make sure you volunteer in a church ministry at least once a quarter" or "buy a Christmas gift for a child in need". David Platt talks about how Jesus was constantly driving away the masses. He really only had 11 guys that stuck right with Him and a few more that followed and believed. If my Christian walk looks like the rest of the American Christian walks I might be in trouble because those are the people who left when the words of Christ became difficult to hear. Even worse, if my Christian walk looks like the rest of America's normal life (specifically the non-Christian) I need to examine myself quickly.

I'm not writing this post because I have any answers. I have a lot more questions than answers right now but I do believe that we need to read the Bible for ourselves and begin to really live out the things that Christ called us to. Right now I am learning that really loving Christ means actually loving Him more than my daughter. If she is what I live for then I have missed it. If she is my whole world than I am not fulfilling the role Christ gave me and I am doing her a disservice by teaching her things that go against the words of Christ.  Now it is easy for me to say, as I sit in my heated and comfy American house, that I do love Christ more than my daughter.  There really isn't much of a test for me, is there?  Then I listen to stories of men and women across the world that know they are called to share the gospel but that doing so puts their children in harms way.  That there are rape and death threats against their daughters.  Do I love Christ that much?  Do I?  Again, my wonderfully comfortable American life has deceived me.  My wealth, both financial and circumstantial, has blinded me from the real cost and expectation of following Christ.

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”  When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?”  But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”    Matthew 19:23-24

I do not want to stand before God at the end of this life and have Him look at me with sadness on His face as He says "Why did you waste what I gave you?  My children were dying of starvation, my daughters were being stolen and abused, those that I love were dying without knowing Me first.  Why did you waste My money and your time?"

Lord, please show us clearly how we are to follow you in the midst of the abundance we live in. I do not want to be one of the rich that you speak about in Matthew 19:23-24.

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