Former Practices

Chris Bilauca

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

And this is still going on today. They continue to follow their former practices instead of truly worshiping the Lord. So while these new residents worshiped the Lord, they also worshiped their idols. And to this day their descendants do the same.
2 Kings 17.34, 41

We are their descendants. We worship the Lord but haven’t given up our idolatry. We go to church, sing in the choir, play on the worship band, teach Sunday School, but our lives reflect a heart that pursues our own agenda. An agenda that looks strangely similar to those in the world around us. Our practice of placing our hope in these things, having our identity in them, reveals a simple truth: We haven’t truly forsaken our lives for His sake; we are continuing in our former practices of chasing after idols.

“If anyone comes to Me and does not hate… his own life, he cannot be My disciple.”
Luke 14.26

Christianity is for those who are done with their pursuits of this life. It’s why, as the rich, we North Americans find it hard to swallow the Christianity pill. So much of our comfort and joy is based on the subtle luxuries we pursue. We can’t really imagine a life without them, and we’re not ready to give them up. The comfortable couch and cold drink we anticipate coming home to, the thought the delicious food we’ll indulge in which helps get us through the dullness of our day, the sitcoms and YouTube videos we think about and look forward – all of these the landmarks of the excitement and entertainment we crave. The rich, us, find it hard to cope with the thought of parting with these. We struggle to walk the Christian life because we cannot find the “balance” between our own life and following Jesus. Some struggle to find this balance point their whole lives, battling between the all-inclusive call of being a Christian, and their own dreams and desires. But our struggle was never intended to exist at the level! Read up on Jesus’ words: There is no talk of this “balance”. Christianity is about being completely sold out for Him. It’s about losing your life – all of it – for His sake. The battle is here, upstream of where most are fighting, not in finding balance. If you haven’t died to your own life, you’re fighting the wrong battle. Following Him becomes a lot easier when your own desires aren’t there to get in the way. And before we roll our eyes at the “extremists” who preach this hard gospel, we should remember that Jesus’ “followers” had the same reaction to His message:

Many of His disciples said, “This teaching is too hard, who can accept it?” At this point many of his disciples turned away and deserted him.
John 6.60, 66

So which are you? A deserter of Jesus? Or a deserter of your own life for His sake? There is no in-between.

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