How much do you love God? Do you love Him enough to sacrifice everything in your life if He so demanded? Do you love Him enough to go where He says to go, do what He says to do and live the way He says to live?
In our era of "comfortable Christianity", the above questions would be to most cruel and unusual punishment. "How dare God demand I give up anything I have worked for to help some bum" is the kind of response the vast majority of Christians would have to any such request from God. When the things we accumulate in this life become OURS that is when our love for God grows cold.
How many times have we seen young children throw a fit when another child tries to play with his toy. One of the first words many children learn is MINE. Of course parents try to teach the child to share, but I find it very interesting that children learn to think in terms of MINE before they learn to SHARE. Where do they learn this?
I absolutely abhor the entitlement mentality that has permeated every aspect of our society. "I worked for it, thus it is MINE" is just as disgusting as "GIVE ME some of yours for I am too lazy to work" in my books. Both of these statements reflect the ME FIRST mentality that dominates our culture. Indeed, in most people’s minds, the only thing they are willing to give are the scraps no one else wants.
If there is one common denominator found in all the men and women mentioned in the FAITH HALL OF FAME in Hebrews 11 it is their willingness to sacrifice something that meant more to them than life itself. Whether money, offerings, pride, friends, family or their physical life; those who are the real believers literally live as though their life is not their own.
Doing what God wants done is rarely easy and always demands sacrifice. This is the lesson Jesus communicated time and again during His earthly ministry. I think we have become so laid back in our faith that we have lost sight of just how profound the sacrifice was Jesus demanded from the twelve men he called to be His disciples.
In each case, Jesus demanded the man immediately forsake his livelihood, family and friends and follow Him. Have you ever stopped and considered the ramifications of this in the particular situations these men were involved in? Matthew was a well paid tax collector who had to immediately quit his job and work for free. Peter, James, John and Andrew were fishermen who provided income for their father’s businesses. What happened when they just walked away from the fishing business?
Peter had a wife for we know he had a mother in law. I am sure many of the other twelve had wives and children. Can you imagine the impact it would have on these families for the husband/father/breadwinner to just drop everything and follow Jesus?
The case for "comfortable Christianity" calls for a life of leisure with no demands placed on one’s life. This pseudo faith promotes self glory, self righteousness and self prosperity. Any talk of sacrifice is immediately debunked as being devilish for somehow the faith has been twisted and turned into being all about ME instead of all about HIM.
Did Jesus sit down with each prospective disciple and offer them a guaranteed contract worth millions of dollars if they just signed on with Him? Did Jesus have a huge compound built to bring his disciples to where they would sit in comfortable chairs and receive instruction on His doctrine? Did Jesus and His disciples travel throughout the Holy Land in a nice air conditioned bus, holding meetings in plush resorts and after the meetings all go play golf?
NO, NO, NO to all this foolishness. The lifestyle demanded by Jesus was marked by self sacrifice and the willingness to do without so as to help others receive God’s blessings. Nowhere in all of the Gospel is there anything that would indicate that the reason to become a follower of Christ was to RECEIVE but rather to GIVE.
How have we become so twisted and turned around in our thinking to believe that the reason for accepting Christ as Savior is to receive blessings, honor, wealth and glory IN THIS LIFE? This whole sordid mess makes me physically nauseated for it is completely wrong and opposite to the truth.
The more abundant life Jesus came to bring is the promise of eternal life that we receive when we turn our hearts over to HIM. By placing all the emphasis on laying up treasures in this life Christianity has succeeded in diminishing the real reason for Christ coming to begin with. Jesus came to save us from our sins which separated us from God. Jesus did NOT come to hand us the key to some mystical place full of golden faucets and private jets and huge Swiss bank accounts.
The heart of our Christian faith is SACRIFICE the same as it was for Abel, Noah and Abraham. God blessed Abraham with a son and then demanded he be WILLING to kill him. His obedience proved his faith was real and of course God stopped the murder from happening.
The heart of our Christian faith is found in the SACRIFICE of our Lord Jesus upon Calvary’s cross. May we never in this life forget the price He paid for our redemption and salvation and may we never in this life fall prey to the selfish belief that He gave His life for us to become rich in this world. Riches beyond our wildest dreams await us for all eternity if we are willing to lay down our lust for them in this life at His feet. By doing this we prove we really do love God with ALL our heart, soul, mind and strength.