Thursday, October 27, 2011

salvation costs nothing, discipleship will cost you everything

As a little girl, I told Jesus I wanted a relationship with Him and wanted to give Him my life.
I understood, to the extent a five year old could, that Jesus loved me, I was (am) a sinner in desperate need of someone to save me from myself. That Jesus came to earth, died a terrible death that He did nothing to deserve and rose again to save me from my penalty- Hell, and to give me a purpose and relationship with Him in this life, and Heaven in the next.
But, honestly, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. No idea the weight of that moment. The reality that Holy Spirit had just come to live inside me. Changed everything about who I was. The commitment that He made to me, all His promises suddenly applied to me. Promises He made that He would never break. Promises that He'd never leave me. to complete His good work in my life. Promises of desire for me, desire for my affection and blessings, if I just trust and follow His will. Promises of eternal life, a place He was preparing that I would see when this life passes away.
He gave the ultimate sacrafice of dying for me two thousand years ago,
and yet Jesus commits Himself to me daily.
daily.
The God of this universe condescends to my level. my world. Commits Himself to a sinful, often rebellious, petty, human being and steps into my life. Isn't that crazy!?
But just like any relationship- any good, healthy, exciting, fruitful relationship, it must not just be one sided. If its going to work, there must be commitment on the other side as well. We don't get to just take salvation and peace out, doing whatever we want till we die, expecting Jesus to make good on all his promises, while having done nothing to hold up our end of the relationship.
So often we treat God like a pinata instead. We expect him to give us anything we want, beat him with prayer and requests for our lives and if we hit him enough, He's required to spill out blessings on us, fulfill requests, follow our every whim, while not doing anything ourselves.

I've been thinking about this subject a lot the last few weeks. I've given my life to Christ but what does that look like. Am i really doing it? Living totally for Jesus? Because, really, I do know what it looks like. I know what the Bible says about what my life should be. seen it lived out in the godly people that are around me. But can i say, in absolute honesty, confidence, that I've walked in a manner worthy of my calling (Ephesians 4)? as a bondservant of Christ? I was so convicted by a sermon i listened to the other day. This is a paragraph from the transcript. It hit me in a way no other analogy has talking about giving your life to the Lord
"Do not quit. Do not quit.
Otherwise, you’re like a woman who is all about a wedding, but not about a marriage. You’re like a woman who really enjoys her wedding day, and then once it’s completed, tells her groom, “We’re getting a divorce today.” The groom’s bewildered. “What do you mean?” “Well, I look good in white, I really enjoy getting my photo taken, I have an affinity for cake, and it was nice to see everyone, but fifty years seems like a long time.” And see, the metaphor of the Bible continually is that we’re like a bride and Jesus is like our groom, and some of us just want to have a wedding, but we don’t want to have a marriage. Getting married is easy. Fifty years is hard. Right? You raised your hand for Jesus at youth camp, you came forward, got baptized, you prayed the sinner’s prayer. Great, you got married. Now it’s fifty years of working it out."


dang, thats crazy! I dont want to give up. I dont want to quit!
I'm so thankful for the grace of God in my failures.
He's faithful when im faithless (2 Timothy 2:13)

There are a million ways this can be applied specifically to my life. but basically i think it comes down to being committed to discipleship.
Being a disciple (follower, bonservant) of Christ
and discipling (serving, loving) people.

But this commitment is not to be taken lightly.
i thought Mark Driscoll put it so well. he said,
"salvation costs you nothing, but discipleship will cost you everything. salvation occurs in a moment, discipleship takes a lifetime. salvation is something God does for you, discipleship is something you do with God."

This discipleship thing, it will cost you your life. everything. its hard and frustrating. full of suffering and trials but also so full of joy, excitement and purpose. A life spent with the God that loves you and who has given us a mission to do while we're here.
If God is who He says He is, done what He says He's done, loves us the way He says He does. i believe He is worth giving my life completely to and for.

First, we must give our lives to Christ. Become followers of Him.
Jesus bought us to make us free. the utimate servant giving the ultimate sacrafice. we must recognize He served us!
Philippians 2:5-8 says
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.


It's for this reason Paul over and over in the New Testament calls himself a bondservant of Christ.
For years bondservant has been one of my favorite words. It's crazy! It's the perfect picture of what the life of a christians is supposed to look like.
Back in Biblical times, slaves were required to be released after 7 years and at the time of release if a servant had been treated well, had formed a relationship with the master, loved his master, he could choose to stay and serve the kind master for the rest of his life. When the decision had been made the master would take the now bondservant over to the door and pierce his ear with an aul. From the moment someone would walk into the master's house they know who was there out of love. out of devotion.
The greek word for bondservant is  δούλος (doulos) it means the lowest scale of servitude but highest devotion of one bound by love; one who gives himself wholly to anothers will

Man, i want that said of my life. bondservant. I've been set free but I chose to stay and serve my loving, perfect master for the rest of my life, with all i have. Not because I have to but because I'm so in love with Jesus for what He's done in my life.

The second part of this life of a disciple is giving your life to people. To take part in the mission of telling people about what Jesus has done and then to build them up in the faith. encouraging, loving, serving those around you.

This world daily tells us what success it, what greatness should look like, but Jesus had the real answer. The true definition of greatness. In Mark 10:35-45 the disciples are arguing over who will be greatest in the kingdom of God. and this blows me away. Jesus doesn't rebuke them! Never says their desire for greatest is wrong. Instead, He redirects it to what godly greatness looks like. It's countercultural not only back then but today!
"But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
He tells them the standard and sets the example for them to follow.
This is true greatness!
Laying our lives down for one another. For people who need to the hear the gospel and our fellow believers
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9 that "though i am free from all i have made myself a servant to all, that i might win more of them." Why?? To win people to Christ!
He goes on to describe how he became like a Jew, a Greek, he became like the weak, why "that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel..."
convicting much?? i want that said of my life.
But the thing is, is that it's not easy. making yourself a slave... to all? that requires inconvenience, laying aside preferences, giving up time, money, comfort. it takes humility.
giving up your very life to serve the lost. Sounds really difficult, huh?
But when our eyes are on the goal, on reality. That people need to hear about Jesus. That people are dying and according to the Bible, will spend eternity in Hell if they don't place their faith in Him. seems worth it. seems necessary.
Makes us really understand 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 when paul says that its Christ's love that compels us. Makes us feel as Peter did in Acts 4 when he tells the council that "we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard"
That reading about all that the disciples went through to spread the gospel, the mockery, the torture, beatings, and eventual murders of these men and possibly our fate if we truly give ourselves to this mission was/is a small price to pay for the souls of men.

Not only should we serve the lost but also serving and loving those standing with us in the cause of Christ. For the unity of the body. Paul says in Romans 12:9-13 "love one another with brotherly affection, outdo one another in showing honor... contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality."
I love that. Outdo one another in showing honor. I just picture all of us literally tripping over each other to serve the other. How awesome!
Think, if thats how we really sought to serve, love, build up, encourage in our bible studies, in our churches. i feel like things would radically change. and in the cycle that it is how much greater our testimony of God's love to the lost by our crazy love for each other.

This is a commitment. a life given to the Lord. so difficult but so worth it.
When it gets hard, don't turn around and quit.
Do NOT quit!

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