Crazy Love - chapter 5

Perhaps most of us, after reading chapter 4, sat rather uncomfortably for the past few days. The first time I encountered the "profile of the lukewarm," I even wished it had never confronted me, precisely because I saw so much of myself described in that profile. Ignorance is bliss, right?

Not when it comes to matters of eternal significance.
In this chapter, Pastor Francis digs even deeper into what it means to be a "lukewarm Christian," and presents a relatively shocking truth -- no such person exists.

On one hand, it is shocking, because ... well, we are accustomed (it is our custom, it is our culture) to lean on "easy-believism" = Jesus is a great addition to your life, pretty wallpaper; but to let God tear down your house and replace the main structure with Jesus?! No thanks... that's for the super-holy.

On the other hand, it is not shocking when you consider that the myth-buster is within reach of every single one of us -- crack open your Bible & see for yourself the kind of radical commitment Christ requires of His followers.

This chapter came as a much-needed splash of cold water for me. God taught me this week, using some very painful lessons, that I had started to let the wrong motivations drive my studies. Yes, even the study of Him & His Word! My heart is an idol factory.

When I left Taiwan to come here, the Lord spurred me on with the very same verses quoted throughout this chapter --

Any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple. -- Luke 14:33

If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. -- Matthew 16:24-25

What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? -- Luke 9:25

My answer about a year ago was, "Got it, God - I will follow you anywhere and do anything you ask of me." I was fired up. nahm sayn??
(a year ago I also would NOT have used those last two sentences :P)

And then over the months, other things crept in, and other idols were set up. I didn't even realize my bondage until God smashed them last week, and I felt crushed as many of my self-concocted dreams shattered. But through the idol-smashing & through this chapter, my Father showed me that I had turned away from a full commitment to Him, that I needed to repent and let those verses sink into my life again. So for that, I am very grateful.

2 questions (the first more for personal reflection) -
  • What is your goal when you consider your relationship with God? If your goal is not God Himself, consider seriously the high possibility that you are not in a right relationship with Him at all.... and if that concerns you, address it before God himself, on your knees...
  • Fill in the blank with your own words or with words you hear quite often from others: Can I ____________________ and still go to heaven? What does this question reveal about our attitude towards following Jesus?

1 comment:

  1. Great post, Carmen.
    I agree that this was a very tough chapter to read. I convince myself that I've done a lot for God--serving in church, caring for others, etc.--everything to make me look like I'm a fully devoted follower of Christ. But what is really inside my heart? To be honest, I DO leave God with leftovers. And to think what God must feel when I give Him these leftovers. He really must be disgusted.
    I loved Pastor Francis' discussion on how we're all called to be disciples, and how this requires sprinting up a downward escalator enduring the unsettling looks we get from others. I realize following Christ isn't easy and that it requires radical behavior, but it's such a struggle for me to be so different, especially when I seek affirmation from others for the choices I make. I'm understanding how vital it is to keep my eyes solely focused on Christ and being defined by him and not this world.
    Lastly, a conversation I had with a friend recently regarding the end times and now reading about the narrow road got me a little freaked out. When Jesus comes, a lot of us churchgoers aren't going to make it. I realize how much more we have to actively love the Lord and radically transform ourselves to give it all to Him.