“When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” ― Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship
This quote had been rolling around in my head all day. . .and then I read it on a Facebook post by Steve Saint (I-TEC).
Words. Easy to say. Easy to type. Easy to live, when life is going well and people like you . . .
This statement got me thinking — what part of “come and die” is difficult for me?
One word kept coming up . . .
Expectations have been the source of much of my emotional “upset” of late. Expectations I thought were long-dead. Sigh. . .
Expectation that if I faithfully follow my diet regimen, take my medication — that I will feel better; but as Job acknowledged. . . “Since man’s days are determined and the number of his months depends on You, and since You have set limits he cannot pass. . .” Job 14:5 HCSB
(by the way, I am NOT saying don’t listen to the doctors, but that ultimately it is God who is in control of even the specifics of my health and strength)
Expectation that if I am pleasant and nice to people, they will be pleasant and nice to me; but Jesus said . . .“Just as you want others to do for you, do the same for them. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. If you do what is good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do what is good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is gracious to the ungrateful and evil. Be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.” Luke 6:31-36 HCSB
Treating others as I want to be treated, even if (and when) they do not return the favor; being merciful, rather than resentful; trusting God with my heart and my feelings . . .
Expectation that people will see how much we have sacrificed, and really appreciate it (oh, how self-serving and petty that sounds as I type it!!); again, the words of Jesus. . .“ The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed,” the Lord said, “you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you. “Which one of you having a slave tending sheep or plowing will say to him when he comes in from the field, ‘Come at once and sit down to eat’? Instead, will he not tell him, ‘Prepare something for me to eat, get ready, and serve me while I eat and drink; later you can eat and drink’? Does he thank that slave because he did what was commanded? In the same way, when you have done all that you were commanded, you should say, ‘We are good-for-nothing slaves; we’ve only done our duty.’” Luke 17:5-10 HCSB
I don’t mean for this post to be “gloomy,” but, in actuality, I am processing through to the good news — how thankful I am for the Holy Spirit’s revealing to me my sin, so I can forsake it and have His peace. In the book of Isaiah, Judah has made an alliance with Egypt, rather than trusting God. God sends Isaiah to warn them of the consequences of trusting in their own strength — “For the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has said: “You will be delivered by returning and resting; your strength will lie in quiet confidence.” Isaiah 30:15 HCSB
Oh, Lord, keep me from the sin of unwillingness to repent and forsake my sin! “But you are not willing.” You say, “No! We will escape on horses”—therefore you will escape!—and, “We will ride on fast horses”—but those who pursue you will be faster. One thousand will flee at the threat of one, at the threat of five you will flee, until you alone remain like a solitary pole on a mountaintop or a banner on a hill. Isaiah 30: 15b-17 HCSB
I am so grateful for God’s mercy! Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. Isaiah 30:18 ESV