We had 45 minutes’ notice of a Friday night basketball camp. I tossed the book in my purse, and while Grace got instruction, I sat on the lowest bleacher and read. Before I’d gotten through the first chapter, my gut started to churn, and I thought it might disgorge itself right there on the gym floor.
I was that afraid.
If I lived in a world of catacombs, I’m pretty sure that’s where you’d find me.
The call to follow Jesus is not simply an invitation to pray a prayer; it’s a summons to lose our lives. ~p. 4
I can’t imagine that I’d risk sharing the gospel in Iran.
I can’t imagine that I’d work in a known North African persecution zone.
I can’t imagine that I’d stay strong when tortured to renounce my faith.
I can’t imagine that I’d cling to the cross with a gun pointed at my head.
I’m pretty comfortable right here behind my computer screen, thank you very much.
In a world where everything revolves around self–protect yourself, promote yourself, preserve yourself, entertain yourself, comfort yourself, take care of yourself–Jesus said, “Slay yourself.” ~p. 3
Every single one of the original disciples (except John) was killed–crucified, speared, beheaded, clubbed, stoned, burned at the stake–because they couldn’t shut up.
Couldn’t. Shut. Up.
Then there was Paul and all those torn apart or torched by Nero.
Even today in many places, to identify with Christ is akin to pronouncing one’s own death sentence.
So what is claiming the cross really costing me?
I’ve led the Bible studies.
I’ve spoken at the retreats.
I’ve raised my hands in worship.
I’ve baked the cookies.
I’ve written a few words.
I’ve sung in the choir, played the bells, and served on committees.
“Follow me” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.”
I’ve always felt my ministry was to feed the fish.
Not necessarily catch them.
To encourage believers.
Not to make believers.
Evangelism’s not my gift.
In fact, I can’t think of one person who’s embraced Christ because of me.
There’ve been a few who’ve said the prayers–but I can’t say I see a change in their lives.
I’m not even sure now that I see a change in mine.
I think the one thing that is abundantly clear . . . is that there are a whole lot of people in the world who think they are Christians but are not. There are a whole lot of people who think that they’ve been born again, but they are dangerously deceived. p. 16
So maybe in hyperventilating over all this, I’m shifting focus to myself again. Trying to work up something He needs to pour in. Maybe I’m not called to travel a bazillion miles or move into the inner city. Maybe I am called to live quiet and love loud, to simply touch the broken and the lost as I travel. Maybe if the time came, He’d provide the strength at that time.
If my life is now His life, it’s now His problem, right?
So how does a person truly become a follower of Jesus? What happens when the Mack truck of God’s glory and grace collides with someone’s life? The rest of this book is consumed with an answer to that question.” ~p. 19
[In this book], we will consider the magnitude of the “me” we are called to follow and marvel at the wonder of his mercy toward us. As we discover how God transforms disciples of Jesus from the inside out, we will see the Christian life not as organized duty but as overwhelming delight.” ~p. 24
Platt’s really got me thinking, and I’m tempted to set the book aside.
I’m still not feeling well.
But I’ll take a Pepto-Bismol and read on.
Still breathing slow and deep,
Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,”
will enter the kingdom of heaven. ~Jesus (Matthew 7:21)