BRUTALLY FOLLOWING CHRIST
Becoming staunchly sensitive to His indwelling Truth will serve as a firewall of protection to preserve us from falling prey to heresies, apostasies, sin, destructive doctrines and practices. When we find ourselves exposed in the midst of untruth; we must immediately turn from it; no matter how uncomfortable it may be. Stagnating in it and refusing to utilize the exit strategy God provides, makes us fall victim to our own deception. And our own stiff-necked deception will then lead to a reprobate-seared over-ness that is insurmountably difficult (if not impossible) to escape from. It's like being on a sinking ship, knowing it's going down, having all of the exits at your disposal, but refusing to utilize them. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will be to be saved from sure doom. It's not absolutely impossible if you wait until the last minute...but really, really difficult. It's best to exit your sinking ship of falsehood as soon as you are made aware of the truth and have
been given the exit strategy.
Sometimes Truth is gained at the expense of loss. Which is painful. This serves as the reason why so many choose to stay on the path to destruction. Some don't want to go through the pain of change or to swallow their pride and admit falsehood. So they remain in their false doctrines, apostasies and heretical practices. What they are holding onto, in hopes they'll be spared; is the very thing that is killing them. What logic!
"Hey, I don't wanna die...so let me continue on in what's killing me...so I don't have to feel any pain".
So, they die a "comfortable" death. Seriously? Welcome to the modern church.
AUTHENTICALLY FOLLOWING CHRIST:
The authentic Christian life reminds me of that movie "127 Hours" where real life canyoneer Aron Ralston, had to cut off his own arm to survive. While hiking, he fell off of an embankment where his arm became pinned under a rock, in the middle of nowhere. If he wanted to live, he had to cut off his arm with a knife.
His Truth was this: If you want to live... you're going to have to make some permanent changes...and he did. His Truth and life was gained at the expense of great loss, discomfort and pain.
"If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell". -Matthew 5:30-
"Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it. If you cling to your life, you will lose it, and if you let your life go, you will save it". -Luke 17:33-
“If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me"-Luke 9:23-
And thus is the entirety of the Christian Life...
What great pain and glorious loss we endure in exchange for the things to come. All that stands in opposition to Christ's preeminence must be brutally dismembered from our lives. May we cast EVERYTHING away that stands in the way of God's Truth: false doctrines, love of sin, self righteousness, pride...ANYTHING that is poisoning that inner element of Christ and causing HIM to be purged from our lives RATHER than our sin.
Self-preservation, in the spiritual realm, is actually self-degradation and self-destruction...an oxy moron or parody of reality. When we stand in the way of Christ's abundant life, that He so desperately wants to give, all so we can "self-persevere and self-preserve" we are actually killing our "future selves in His Kingdom" so we can live in our sin via the here and now. How mind numbingly contradictive is this? This is spiritual suicide!
When you choose to retain your sin; you stand in direct disobedience to Christ. And in turn you purge HIM in place of SIN.
What causes the Christian-Disciple great pain and loss in the flesh, is for the preservation and consummation of life in the future. Sometimes pain=life. Just look at childbearing, exercise, fasting, dieting, surgical procedures etc. This principle is all around us.
The Christian life is likened unto a ship carrying precious cargo: When the ship is in danger of sinking, the crew thinks nothing of casting overboard the precious cargo. The crew members of a ship could be carrying billions of dollars worth of gold bricks; but if the ship is going down, and casting it overboard is the only way of escape; no crew member in their right mind is going to choose to go down with the gold, just because it is worth so much. That would be suicide! But likewise, this is what we do when we refuse to toss our "precious" sins away---and in so doing, we commit spiritual suicide by choosing to go down with our (precious) sins.
When a limb is severely injured, to the point of causing infectious disease to the rest of the body; a man will submit to severe operation, and even to amputation, to save his life. Yes, an arm is important and precious. But sometimes, in some circumstances, losing it is essential in saving and prolonging life. An arm may be importantly precious; But is it SO precious that it's worth losing your life in order to keep it? Yes, you will be a man with two arms in the coffin. Is it just me, or does it sound MUCH better to be a one armed man NOT in a coffin? And so it is with the Christian life...
Surely a Christian should be willing to give up anything which stands between him and Christ's Heavenly Kingdom. "A Christianity that costs nothing is worth nothing! A cheap Christianity, without a cross, will prove in the end a useless Christianity, without a crown" (J.C Ryle). He who is first in this life, will be last in the Kingdom. He who is last in this life, will be first in the Kingdom. Let us all strive to suffer in this life to be first in the Kingdom!
This life is not the goal. It's merely the vehicle that is utilized to get us to the destination. We'll have ETERNITY for painless ease. But for right now we are in a war. Many limbs are lost in battle. And sometimes the loss of limbs are for the prolonging of life. But we serve the God of Resurrection; He will restore us! He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.(Hebrews 11:6) Let us seek Him in our loss, frailty and weakness to find Him in His gain, strength and might. We may be an armless, legless stump when we reach the Wedding Feast. But it's better than being a whole man cast into Hell. Let us know the pain of loss in this life; that we may know the loss of pain in the next. And in so doing, we will come to know God, in Christ, to the fullest of possibilities. How badly do you want intimate communion with Christ?
May we all cut our losses (which will be gain) and brutally follow Christ...no matter what it costs and no matter how badly it hurts.