Thursday, March 3, 2016
Many pastors and church-health authors have written in recent years about the modern phenomenon in our church culture of Christians shying away from costly discipleship. Sadly, some folks want blessing without the cost.
Henry and Melvin Blackaby share a great word in their workbook study Your Church Experiencing God Together.
Jesus never hid the cost of being His disciple. He made it clear that His disciple would have to deny self, take up his cross, and follow Him.
All God's people would share in the cost when any part of the body was suffering. The cost of following Jesus would be real, personal, and at times deadly. The cost could only be endured faithfully in the context of God's people corporately. Unfortunately, I have found that today we intentionally avoid the cost of discipleship.
Members deliberately abandon the people of God during times of cost in order to go to another church where they can find times of blessing instead. What a tragic misunderstanding of discipleship! What an affront to God's great salvation that our generation can be so self-centered, forsaking God's will when the cost of discipleship gets hard. Church hopping usually arises out of a selfish desire to be happy, when the Lord desires that His disciples be holy. He desires for them to make a difference where He has put them and not simply go to the place where their needs are better met.
Too many people today look for shortcuts in their Christian life or substitutes for the hard, painful, and weary work of a disciple. They want instant gratification but no cross. They look for ease and comfort in life, but they're unwilling to count the cost of following Jesus. If they don't receive honor, position, and recognition, they search out other churches that will grant them recognition so they can be satisfied in their Christian lives. The thoughts of scars or wounds, like their Master's, doesn't enter their heads.
This comfort-zone mentality too often characterizes individual believers, but more tragically it reflects the same mentality in the churches.
'Make us successful so my family and I can be happy!'
'Don't ask me to help start a mission church; it would cost our family too much!'
We can't remain comfortable and go with Christ at the same time. There will be a cost when He leads us.