Let’s wander back to the first century for a moment. I wonder what a day in the life of a disciple of Christ looked like? I wonder what it looked like to worship and serve Christ in the brutality of the Greco-Roman world? I wonder what it looked like to live out Christ in a society that fed you to lions for entertainment? I wonder what it looked like to follow Christ at such a high cost? History tells us they didn’t wake up each morning and spend the day pursuing personal gain.
I’m not trying to romanticize the early church. The “good old days” are an illusion. God is just as powerful now as He was then and we should always be moving forward rather than longing for an illusion.
But the western church is sleeping. I know because I live here and I am guilty of drowsiness. It is by the grace of God that I am starting to see.
Church should not be merely a Sunday service. Church should be a lifestyle. Church should be every single breath. Church should be every single heartbeat. Church should be our whole entire life.
Let’s consider the heroes of the Christian Faith throughout the centuries. From Polycarp, to Athanasius, to Augustine, to Luther and the countless others. What would have happened if they chose comfort over serving the Lord?
We don’t give all that we have like the persecuted church did, and does. We make sure we are comfortable and then give what’s left. And what we do give, is it going to the truly poor of this world? The persecuted church is marked by their love for each other. Do we love even when it is uncomfortable? Would an observer look at us and marvel at our example of love? Would they say what this second century observer said:
“They are in the flesh, but they do not live after the flesh. They pass their days on earth, but they are citizens of heaven. They obey the prescribed laws, and at the same time surpass the laws by their lives. They love all men and are persecuted by all. They are unknown and condemned; they are put to death and restored to life. They are poor yet make many rich; they are in lack of all things and yet abound in all; they are dishonored and yet in their very dishonor are glorified. They are evil spoken of and yet are justified; they are reviled and bless; they are insulted and repay insult with honor; they do good yet are punished as evildoers. When punished, they rejoice as if quickened into life; they are assailed by the Jews as foreigners and are persecuted by the Greeks; yet those who hate them are unable to assign any reason for their hatred. To sum it all up in one word–what the soul is to the body, that are the Christians in the world.”
Throughout history the church falls asleep when comfortable and comes alive when persecuted.
I look back and think of when we built Windy Ridge. I had no shame in the extravagance. I proudly thought it was mine. God is so gracious in setting me right. It is by His grace that I joyfully pour out my life and all that I have to Him. Without Him I am nothing. I know now that this is His house and He will do with it as He pleases. And that pleases me more than words can tell.
God has not called us to pursue a life of comfort. The American Dream is a trap, my friends. Being comfortable is not wrong, but sacrificing what Jesus calls us to do on the altar of comfort is deadly. Beware the enemy’s lies.
Here in my world I find that the idea of giving your WHOLE life to Christ is considered radical. It’s too much. It’s uncomfortable. We justify our comfort. We feel entitled to our comfort.
Friends, the love of Jesus IS radical. It IS too much. It IS uncomfortable. But Jesus is worth giving our WHOLE life to.
Because He gave His life for us.
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
-James, a servant of God and the Lord Jesus Christ (and the Lord’s brother)