I sat the other day thinking about the current state of Christianity in America, seeing the shallowness of what is preached from today’s pulpits and the lack of depth in the lives of many of Christ’s followers. I began to wonder to myself have we made Christianity too easy in America?
I know I’m going to get some flack for this one because we have developed a church culture that says if you aren’t winning people to the Lord everyday then your failing. Don’t get me wrong. I love telling people about the Lord. He consumes my thoughts, my actions, my speech, and my day. He is what drives me. He is my all in all.
First, let’s look at something that Jesus said and then I’ll get back to what I’m saying.
Now large crowds were going along with Him; and He turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and consider whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions. “Therefore, salt is good; but if even salt has become tasteless, with what will it be seasoned? – Luke 14:25-34
Jesus called us to count the cost of what it looks like to follow Him. Today we get people to say a prayer and then are done with them. We may invest in them for a short period, but then we move on.
The imagery that the Lord paints in this story is one of great cost. We are in a battle between kingdoms. We cannot afford to not count that cost. We cannot afford to not survey our men before we enter battle.
When we follow Christ we must be willing to give up everything, our possessions, even our own family. Most importantly, we must be willing to give up our own life.
The Paradox of Christianity
This is the great paradox of following Christ. Yes, it is easy to come to Christ as we can read here.
They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” – Acts 16:31
if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; – Romans 10:9
All we have to do is believe and confess. Even with the ease of coming to Christ, there is also great difficulty as we saw above. Jesus calls us to pay a great price to follow Him.
Today we are more concerned with giving people a fire insurance policy than calling them into the deep.
Can we stop swimming in the shallows?
Right now we are drowning in the shallow end. Christianity has lost its saltiness in America, therefore losing its impact on society.
Look around you. Christianity is being tossed out into the street.
I challenge you today to survey your life. Have you counted the cost of what it really means to be a follower of Christ?
Like I said earlier, the Lord consumes my life and I love nothing more than telling people about Him. I don’t do it out of obligation; rather I do it because I have nothing else to talk about. I have nothing else I care about. I have nothing else that has impacted and changed my life like the Lord Jesus.
Once I stopped swimming in the shallow end trying to live up to this unwritten code of obligations to follow Christ and be a part of His church, I began swimming in the deep and discovered a whole new understanding. I began to understand I cannot live this life. Christ must live it through me. I now thrive on the deep things of Christ, and strive each day to live by His Spirit.
I ask you have you counted the cost? Are you willing to move into the deep? Are you willing to give up possessions, popularity, family, friends, and your own life to follow Jesus? I believe we have made Christianity too easy today giving people a fire insurance policy rather than calling them to count the cost and swim in the deep. Will you join me?