Whom to blame for our not following Christ closely?
Posted in In line with Scripture
If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me will save it. — Luke 9:23-24
This is the answer to both the proud, arrogant and haughty and to the hurt, abused and feeling-sorry-for-themselves. No room for cry-baby Christians, for those who would claim, “I’m not responsible……
– For my hot temper. I’m Irish.
– For my life-long indulgence in sensual behavior. I was molested at age 12.
– For wallowing in self-pity and under-achievement. I come from a broken home.”
Living as we do in a crybaby society that encourages blame-casting and personal irresponsibility, it is interesting to note that the Scriptures allow us no such luxury.
You don’t see Jesus, for example, saying to Peter, “Pete, your dad was a pretty harsh taskmaster, growing up as you did the son of a fisherman. When you get around to it, and are feeling better about yourself, perhaps you would consider tagging along with Me. Give Me a buzz when you think you are ready.”
Or to Nathaniel, “You know Nate, you have a pretty sensitive disposition. I’d like you to trust and believe in Me, but your alcoholic father scarred you for life. Perhaps we can work on the ‘trust’ thing, when of course you have the time…and the inclination.”
Today I had lunch with Sam* and his lovely wife Kerry*, and their three adorable children. Frankly, I was blown away because Sam is the product of multiple foster homes and irresponsible parenting. Women, who are loved and treated with respect, “glow”. Kerry “glows”. And the kids? Alert. Confident. Well mannered. Secure.
In his teens, Sam became a high priced con artist. In his mid-20s he met Christ. At 40, he is a successful businessman who gives large portions of his income to God’s work. Sam also travels the world, meeting with heads of state, and sharing Christ in the most dangerous of environs. On the side, he raises millions of dollars for propagating the Gospel. In a word, Sam has assumed responsibility for his life.
While the Scriptures express compassion for human weakness….
“We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak…” (Rom.15:1b; See Ps.41:1-3)
….they do not temper Christ’s call to discipleship:
“If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me will save it.”
* Names have been changed.
(© 2000 Dwight Hill, Business & Professional Ministries; a ministry of THE NAVIGATORS. Unlimited permission to copy or use is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice. www. bpnavigators.org)
One of the great liberations of educating at home is that our children are removed from the environment of being compared to other children. Other children rarely if ever provide good yardsticks for other children. Or put another way, a child doesn’t need another child to teach it how to be a child.
Our children need committed, consistent godly role models to compare themselves to and who will also train them in righteousness. There are two temptations we and our children can fall for: one is the class of excuses illustrated above: “My background, lack of care and resources, etc., have made me unfit to excel as a Christian, let alone a parent educating my children at home.” The other temptation is to consider ourselves or our children in isolation: “My child will decide or determine for himself what his area of endeavour will be and what level of accomplishment he will attain.”
Be done with such thoughts! The Scripture says plainly: deny yourself. Paul said he considered his many admirable attributes to be dung (Philippians 3:8). Well, if we are carrying some baggage from our past which really is dung, all the more reason to dump it, deny this aspect of ourselves, and no longer consider it. In fact, the Scripture says to “consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:11).
Here we meet the Lord’s incomparable provision: He tells us to deny ourselves….yes, that seems tough sometimes, but if our backgrounds included violence, hate and injustice, why would we want to hang onto that?…He tells us to deny ourselves, and to take up the Cross! We are to compare ourselves to Him, occupy ourselves with Him and grow up into Him. “No soldier on service gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to satisfy the One Who enlisted him” (II Timothy 2:4). “For God is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). Count on the Holy Spirit’s work within you. “He who calls you is faithful, and He will do it!” (I Thessalonians 5:24).
From Keystone Magazine
January 2002 , Vol. VIII No. 1
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