There will be a great challenge for Christians moving into 2020. That problem is one word “comfortability.” For the majority of us we desire comfortability, whether that be relaxing on the beach or getting a week off from work there is a natural desire in us to be comfortable. Our minds continually are pushing us toward the path of least resistance. Of course this is nice to us and gives us a feeling of ease but it is the exact opposite of what Christ has called us to. Being a Jesus follower means living a life of sacrifice and selflessness. As we go into a new decade and a new year there we must challenge ourselves to recognize where we have become comfortable in our faith and see how differently Jesus has called us to live.
When I think of the words of Jesus to His disciples there is clear instruction of the calling that He gives His followers. A very stern and very unsettling instruction. Jesus speaks in Luke 9 saying: “Then he said to them all, “If anyone wants to follow after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of me will save it. 25 For what does it benefit someone if he gains the whole world, and yet loses or forfeits himself?”
Jesus here makes a conditional statement. Saying “IF” you are going to follow me then deny yourself. Not just deny yourself once or twice a week or 3 times a month but daily! Jesus shows us that there is no option and this is not something that we can choose to do or not choose to do. It is a clear instruction. Most of Jesus and what He taught was challenging and is difficult to grasp. Especially the idea of dying daily.
While these instructions are clear we as a church have done a very poor job of looking different and being different than the world around us. A death to self is a calling that moves us away from comfortability and closer to sacrifice. Most importantly living this out draws us closer into being like Jesus. Jesus Himself set this example in dying for us and living a life continually set in the mode of self denial. The goal of Christians should be to be as close to the way Jesus lived as we can. This task is impossible without a commitment to sacrifice and denial of self.
In the next ten years will have many great services, many great worship songs written, and even more churches planted. But even in the midst of all this there is something more important that will be our greatest challenge and can be easily missed. The greatest challenge for Christians in the next decade will not be great worship services, sermons, or a bunch of prayer. The challenge will be are we gonna die to self daily or keep being comfortable? If not then we will continue to look like the world around us.
This will be our greatest challenge as Christians and the church. Are we going to die to self? Or will we be what many of us have always been? Comfortable Christians. The challenge for us begins today and continues tomorrow, and the next day, and the next.
How will you respond? Jesus has given us a calling.