Christianity is not easy. Discipleship is not easy. If you think it’s convenient, if the call to follow Jesus does not overwhelm you, you ain’t seen it yet for what it really is.
Following Jesus demands that we die to ourselves. Everyday.
Following Jesus demands that we deny our very selves and reject our very beings.
It entails taking up our cross, taking upon ourselves the mission to carry out God’s purpose, this in addition to the burdens we already carry by merely existing in this troubled world.
It’s a daily struggle. Struggle to believe when all we ever have in our head is doubt. Struggle to love when offenses are great and it’s most natural to resent and hate. Struggle to take responsibility when it’s most easy to blame. Struggle to go beyond our comforts and conveniences to be a comfort to others. Struggle to be humble yet secure in a society that chases after the futility of human approval and affirmation. And in failing to do all these, the struggle to persevere in the midst of failures and frustration and disappointments.
It’s a messy job and if you have received its sugarcoated version, you will definitely be met with disappointment along the way. As you pursue more of Christ, you will realize that the journey is difficult and the work is hard. Your heart will be wrenched until all its motives are squeezed out and revealed. Your pride will be hammered into pieces and all the things you thought you were, will be put in question. You will even be persecuted and insulted and mocked. Then you will have to be humbled to the fact that after all, it has never been and will never be about you.
It’s a messy job indeed. But it’s not our job. It’s God’s.
Oh, what relief! How amazing God’s grace is!
That he took upon himself not only the consequence of our sins but also the work of our redemption in Christ! From our salvation to our perfection to the day we finally meet Christ, it’s all God’s work. And what God begins, he completes. How marvelous!
Even when the task ahead of us is daunting, we will not have to do this alone (we never can), for God will be with us. He will empower us to fulfill our calling to follow Christ. He will work in us to soften our hearts and enable us to love him and other people in increasing measure.
He will finish the work! Such is the beautiful assurance of our victory. That yes, in this world we will have trouble, but behold! Jesus has overcome the world! Yes, we will struggle and fail, and struggle and perhaps fail again, but Jesus has overcome! And that victory is a victory he shares to those who follow him, those who choose to be his disciples even though things get too tough to endure.
This is the beautiful promise of Christianity – not that life will be easy (it will not!), but that in all things (pleasant or unpleasant), God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Thank you, Abba. Thank you. T-T