We Cannot Say “No, Lord” and Call Ourselves Disciples of Christ

yuckContinued from here.

Far too many Christians (myself included for many years) believe that saying “No, Lord” is an acceptable response to God’s leading. This confuses free will with discipleship. Yes, we have the option of saying “No” to God through free will, but at the point at which we do this, we cease being Jesus’ disciples. We cannot have it both ways. Either we are voluntarily slaves to Christ, doing the will of God from our hearts, or we are not Jesus’ disciples. We don’t get to enjoy the benefits of discipleship with Christ without first denying ourselves, taking up our crosses, and following Jesus.

Following Christ is not always fun. We live in a culture that is fundamentally self-absorbed, and Christlikeness is all about denying ourselves and putting the needs of others above ourselves. That means we aren’t to blend in to society, and that’s hard for many people to do. May Christians (myself included for many years) want to straddle the fence, keeping one foot in the Church to avoid going to hell while keeping the other foot squarely in the world so that other than warming a pew on Sundays, their lives aren’t very different from the lives of their worldly friends. The Bible says that when we do this, we actually become God’s enemy!

God despises lukewarm Christians, so if you are trying to straddle the fence and live a worldly life peppered with just enough church to avoid going to hell, you are fooling yourself. Jesus did not call people to accept just enough of his sacrifice to avoid going to hell. He called disciples, and he defined discipleship as (1) denying yourself; (2) carrying a cross; and (3) following him. You cannot do this and live a self-absorbed life like the world. You are fooling yourself if you are trying to do this.

To be continued…

[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace gagging under the word, “Yuck.” Courtesy Bitmoji.]