Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Cost of Nondiscipleship

I've joined another great web class put on by the incredible folks at Essentials Team. We're going through the book Devotional Classics which we used for a portion of the Essentials Green worship theology course. We all loved that aspect of the course so much, they added these Spiritual Formation calls with Dan Wilt which have been just amazing. By the way, the next essentials course kick off starts on September 11th. I can't recommend it enough.

This assignment's reading comes from a selction by Dallas Willard on the cost of nondiscipleship. He defines it this way:
Nondiscipleship costs abiding peace, a life penetrated throughout by love, faith that sees everything in the light of God's overriding govenance for good, hopefulness that stands firm in the most discouraging of circumstances, power to do what is right and withstand the forces of evil. In short, it costs exactly that abundance of life Jesus said he came to bring (John 10:10)

I have been contemplating this definition for several days, concluding that if I'm lacking any of those items in his definition, there's a pretty good chance it's because I'm not submitting to the disciple-making process in an area (or perhaps several) of my life.

At the end of the reading, the suggestion is made to read through the book of Matthew and list all the things Jesus commanded us to do, giving us a "mosaic of what the basic Christian life should look like according to Jesus."

I've only gotten through chapter 9 of Matthew, and already I am squirming. I notice that the commands I'm feeling most uncomfortable over all have to do with anxiety (subject for another post perhaps) and giving.

Giving, as in, if someone sues me for my tunic, give them my coat as well. Give to those who ask. Don't turn anyone away who asks to borrow.

You mean give? Just like that? I don't have to figure out if I have enough? Or if it's fair? Or if he/she is going to use it wisely or take good care of it or pay me back? Really?

That just doesn't seem *wise* somehow. But whose wisdom is that anyway?

Biblical scholars may have a way to explain a way around these blanket commands Jesus made, but I am struck with the simplistic nature of the one command.


My reluctance to give like Jesus commanded, though, is potentially costing me a lot: peace, abundant life, hopefulness, power...But deep down I'm afraid that giving like that will cost too much. That there won't be enough left over for me.

Which brings me back to a previous post on C.S. Lewis's writing on "Giving All to Christ." If I look at it from the standpoint of my natural self, when will I ever have enough to give?

The truth, though, is that when I give as a disciple of Christ, it can come from a place of abundant living in Christ, through being His disciple, obeying everything He's commanded (Matthew 28:20). Will it cost me? Most undoubtedly. Will it be easy? I hardly think so.

But will it be worth it? My head knows that the answer is a resounding "yes!" so that's the answer I'm going to give. My heart, though, is whispering a much more timid "I think so."

Lord, help me to give like you commanded! Help me to be Your disciple through and through. Let my head and heart come into unity with a confident "yes!" in Your promises and faithfulness.

Only 19 more chapters in Matthew to to join me?

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