image (c) by Marilee Miller 2012
Walking through Trouble
Ted Gossard, who blogs at the “Jesus Community”,
wrote a post called “out of one’s comfort zone”. He cites Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who says that Jesus bids us come and die.
He also quotes the Scripture text, “I want to know Christ – yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.” (Philippians 3:10)
Here is the comment I made in response to his post.
If we told “seekers” that dying to self isn’t just a phrase about us trying to live more unselfishly and trying to be “holy minded”, would they even WANT Christ? Who wants to say, with Paul, that we want to experience the sufferings of Christ? (or of Paul) Yikes!
Billy Graham used to say it was the easiest thing in the world to accept Christ. You just said “I come”. It seems to me like it was years before he explained that following him afterwards was hard. That living the surrendered life wasn’t “all you have to do is…”
Many of us lose our enthusiasm when we’ve been a Christian for a long time. Sacrifice gets harder and sounds less noble when we keep having to walk through trouble. Only by clinging to him, calling on his name, looking at the end result (our future reward as faithful servants) can we continue to follow. And that following gets to be HIS work in us. We can’t do it ourselves. Oh, how we need him to move in our lives! Oh, how we need his power! But it’s by grace we are saved, not by our thoughts and actions. Halleluliah! What a Saviour!!
How do you feel about our surrendering our entire selves to God, if this act triggers a long process of dying to self-interest and our own desires -- (even though we can guess the process of dying isn’t sweet or easily-accomplished!)?
When you face struggles, have you ever asked, “Why me?” Or felt He was allowing too much suffering in your lives? Have you experienced times of choosing to rejoice that tribulation works patience and character in us?
This post is shared with "Seedlings in Stone" and "Playdates with God"
Your comments will be a great encouragement to me. Thanks.