November 14, 2007
“Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23 (NIV)
We huddled around a large black granite conference table. We debated the needs of our church. “What would be the best approach to discipline new believers?” We flip-flopped between an easy Bible basics class and sessions on essential Christian concepts. “But, we don’t want to scare anyone off,” someone said. “We need to make it comfortable.”
A young man who sat directly across from me said, “I find nothing in the Bible that says Christianity is supposed to be comfortable or easy.”
The group stared in amazement. The truth of this young man’s words hung heavy in the air. I experienced two feelings at once. First, I felt a wave of humbleness flood my spirit. I recognized that I sat across from a man ready to die for his faith in Christ, if necessary. Secondly, I wanted to jump up and clap in admiration for this godly young man who was half my age.
I left the meeting with a renewed hope for the future of the Christian church. God is raising up men and women who will not allow their faith to be watered down by today’s secular culture.
This man inspired my faith. His readiness to sacrifice comfort for Christ stirred my own sleepy spirit. Revelation 2:4 popped into my thoughts, “You have forsaken your first love (NIV).” It’s easy for me to slide into my comfort zone of faith and away from the daily self-sacrifice that Jesus calls me to live.
Challenged, I turn again toward the cross with hope and expectation. It will not always be easy. It may make other people uncomfortable. Nevertheless, I desire to follow Jesus as He commanded, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”
Do you hear Jesus calling you out of comfortable Christianity?
Lord Jesus, I admit sometimes I replace my devotion to You with comfortable Christianity. Teach me to take up my cross daily and follow You. Help me never to replace my love for You with anything else. In Your Name, I pray.
Perplexing Proverbs—A Woman’s Bible Study by Susanne Scheppmann
Go to your local library or Christian bookstore to obtain a copy of Jesus Freaks by D.C. Talk or Foxe’s Book of Martyrs by John Fox. Read the stories and be challenged in your faith.
Do I live in “comfortable” Christianity?
What self-sacrifice do I hesitate to make?
Am I willing to be love Jesus radically?
Luke 14:27, “And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” (NIV)
Titus 2:12, “It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.” (NIV)
Romans 14:8, “If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.” (NIV)
Proverbs 31 Ministries
Matthews, NC 28105