Saturday, April 5, 2014
So many Christians today seem to have the idea that we say a little prayer, and as long as we go to church and avoid the "bad sins", we are good Christians and on our way to Heaven.
But what about all that denying ourselves, and cross carrying Jesus talked about? What about the world hating us? The world isn't going to hate us if we are just like them. And life isn't going to be 24/7 peaches and cream if we are lugging a cross around and denying ourselves.
There are people who like to be used in church, especially if it is up front where they will be seen and heard, but there are also people who feel it is their mission in life to warm a pew. I lean towards that myself. No duties, no work to prepare for the church service. Just go and soak it in, and go home. No inconvenience.
Ironically, the very Savior we claim to serve inconveniences Himself like no one ever has done, or will ever do since.
Imagine being the King of Kings. We don't know much about what Heaven is like, other than the few things the Bible says, but we know it is a wonderful place. And Jesus left that to come to this world as a baby. It almost seems irreverent to say this, but God had to had His diaper changed. He was, as the Gaithers put it in a song, an ordinary baby.
He had to learn to walk, falling as all babies do and getting hurt. He had to go through puberty, and all the wonderful things that go with that.
But that pales with what He eventually did. He suffered terrible beatings and torture, before hanging on a cross to die for the sins of the world. Inconvenience is too easy of a word to describe what Jesus Christ did for us.
Yet we don't want to put ourselves out in any way to serve Him.
We want to be as much like the world as we can, so no one will mock us. Yet He was mocked for us.
We don't want to give up too much of our time for Him, yet He gave up 33 years for us
We don't want any burden serving Him might put on us, yet He bore a cross for us, and bore our sins
We don't want to give any more of our resources than we have to, yet He gave His life
Have we lost sight of what it is all about? Yes, we have to work and make a living. Not everyone can be a preacher or missionary, but it is all about serving God, loving God, and sharing His love with the world. Of helping people, being Jesus to the world and our brothers and sisters.
But we don't have time. We are too busy. There's things we want to do, TV shows we can't miss, books we want to read, and the list goes on. It would be inconvenient to take time out of what we want to do to go visit someone who is sick, or discouraged. It would be inconvenient to agree to speak for that service, to teach that class, to give money for that cause....
Could it be that we are all basically selfish? Selfish with the God who forgave all of our sins, who died for us?
Or are we just not committed enough to this idea of denying ourselves, taking up our cross, and truly following Jesus?
I don't like the version of Christianity I have tried to live all of my life. Among other things, it was convenient. God was like a took hanging in the garage that I took down when I needed Him. And that is wrong. Truly serving God is a 24/7 thing. We don't fit Him into our schedule, we should schedule around Him. Make our schedule fit into our serving Him.
There are hurting people all around us. I should know. I have been one of them more than I haven't. One of the excuses often used for not being there for people, is we don't have time. And life is busy. But if we are too busy to serve God the way we should, and too busy to help people, then we are too busy. We need to inconvenience ourselves a bit.
It isn't convenient to carry a cross, to deny ourselves, to be in the world but not of the world, to be different. To make time for what really matters.
But when we think of how much Jesus inconvenienced Himself for us, our excuses pale. They pale a lot, and we should be ashamed to even use them.
Being a Christian isn't convenient. We have mountain top times, times when everything seems wonderful, but if we are in it for the long haul, and are serious about serving Him, there are going to be a lot of valleys, of times when it isn't convenient to be a Christian. But it is still worth it.