I wanted to jump out of my seat and yell
"LIAR!!!!! Do not listen to this man!!"
And if there weren't 3,000 other people sitting next to me, I really might have.
I understand pastors who want to get people in the church doors. I understand (but wholeheartedly disagree with) wanting to make the Gospel attractive and comfortable so that people will come to know Jesus. But saying it's an easy road is exactly opposite of what Jesus told us.
Jesus told us that in order to follow him, we have to choose him over all our possessions.
That we have to choose him over all our relationships.
That we have to choose him over our family.
Not to mention the fact that his disciples spent the rest of the New Testament writing about how they did suffer for Christ, and ultimately they did (literally) sacrifice their own lives for the sake of his Gospel.
So to even insinuate that following Jesus is easy is just flat out heresy. And is, I believe, what is responsible for producing a lot of "believers" but few "followers" in today's culture. Kind of like this quote sums up perfectly:
"North American Christianity is 3,000 wide and 1/2 inch deep."
- J.J. Packer, The Quest for Godliness
I have been reading a new devotional, "Conversations," by Brian Rice, in which I highly recommend. A few days ago it asked me to read Philippians 3:7-11 and reflect upon the kind of Christian life I want to experience. Here's how those verses went in my mind:
"I want to die." No I don't. "I want to suffer the way that Jesus did." No I definitely don't. Who in their right mind would want to do these things?!" That is insane and I just don't understand why I should want to want that.
Devotions done, book closed.
And while there are days I just have to close the Bible and say "I don't get it," the important thing, I have found, is to keep the conversation going. Maybe not that same day, or even week, just sometime when I can be honest with God about whatever I think.
Today I realized, Paul was really insane for writing that. And what makes a person insane? Being in love. Paul was that insane because he knew God. He knew the sacrifices Jesus made for him, and that kind of insane gratitude had to be his response because he actually understood it.
I can't fathom knowing Christ that well. It's completely terrifying.
But it does make me realize that since I'm not that insane yet, there's a lot more to God than what I understand right now. There's a lot more of Him I need to get to know. There's a lot more room in my life for Him to help me become more like Jesus.