I trust everyone is doing well. Though I try to send out a thought each week I missed last week (sorry - occasionally things do get busy)! So I offer this weeks thought to cover both weeks. It's by Dallas Willard, from his book "The Spirit of the Disciplines." I trust it will challenge and feed your soul. Enjoy!
"When Jesus walked among humankind there was a certain simplicity to being a disciple. Primarily it meant to go with him, in an attitude of study, obedience and imitation... Though costly, discipleship had a very clear, straightforward meaning -- to devote oneself to becoming like Christ. The disciple is one who, intent upon becoming Christlike and so dwelling in his 'faith and practice' systematically and progressively rearranges his affairs to that end...
In 1937 gave the world his book 'The Cost of Discipleship.' It was a masterful attack on 'easy Christianity' or 'cheap grace,' but it did not set aside -- perhaps it even enforced -- the view that discipleship was a costly spiritual excess and only for those especially driven or called to it.
It was right to point out that one cannot be a disciple of Christ without forfeiting things normally sought in human life, and that one who pays little in the world's coinage to bear his name has reason to wonder where he or she stands with God. But the cost of nondiscipleship is far greater than the price paid to walk with Jesus.
Nondiscipleship costs us abiding peace, a life penetrated throughout by love, faith that sees everything in the light of God's overriding governance for good, hopefulness that stands firm in the most discouraging of circumstances, power to do what is right and withstand the forces of evil. In short, it costs exactly that abundance of life Jesus said he came to bring (John 10:10).
The cross-shaped yoke of Christ is after all an instrument of liberation and power to those who live in it with Him and learn the meekness and lowliness of heart that brings rest to the soul... The correct perspective (of discipleship) is to see following Christ not only as the necessity it is, but as the fulfillment of the highest human possibilities and as life on the highest plane."
Willard is right. Too often we stress the fact that Christian discipleship is costly, we must give up much to embark on it and that those who choose nondiscipleship somehow get to retain all they have and get all they want. But we do people an immense disservice if we fail to point out (as Willard does) that the cost of nondiscipleship is even greater!
The person who rejects a life of discipleship not only rejects eternal life, but chooses to rob their own soul of the joy and riches of walking with Jesus. They impoverish their soul and forsake the sole path that leads to the abundant life.
In the Bonds of Christian Affection,
Dr. Jeffrey F. Evans