Time magazine had a piece a few years back, 7 Things People Do That Make Them Great (from Daniel Coyle’s The Talent Code): Commit to the long term, take a nap(steroids for the brain), keep a journal, find a role model and start doing. The seventh is: be uncomfortable.
We learn best when we are reaching. We need to be stretched to the edge of our ability. It needs to be hard. We learn when we’re in our discomfort zone. We succeed when we are struggling, reaching, making mistakes, failing, realizing those mistakes and reaching again. Start telling others about your church, about your faith, about God’s presence in your life.
Get comfortable feeling uncomfortable. Are you feeling it? Jesus’ requirements from the gospel of Mark for all believers are: deny self, take up your cross and follow. I hope this makes us a bit uneasy. If we are going to impact our culture for Christ we will need to band together – so get comfortable being uncomfortable!
The three things necessary (non-negotiables) for following Jesus today are:
SELF DENIAL – an attitude that generates daily submission of one’s will. It is not denying ourselves what we enjoy or what we desire to have, as with a discipline during Lent (no sweets, alcohol or entertainment). It is denying the self and our self- promoting ambitions.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “To deny self is to be aware of Christ and no more of self, to see only him who goes before and no more the road which is too hard for us. All that self-denial can say is: He leads the way, keep close to him.”
BEARING OUR CROSS – not the false ideas society has of a cross – like jewelry, or a bodily affliction, family problem or catastrophe, as one’s cross to bear. The cross means more than that. Bearing our cross is a requirement for discipleship, it is a way of life, facing suffering, not taking the easier path or side stepping sacrifice. Jesus presents us with a cross. It is more than surveying it, glorying in it, or loving it; we are to become like Jesus in obedience and live out the cross.
FOLLOWING – means to stay on the path Jesus has chosen; stepping out in faith in the direction he is pointing us. It will be difficult, a hard road at times, and the biggest challenge we have ever faced. We will be confronted with the impossible; going against the current of culture and society and it will look to others like weakness. There may be silent suffering, your lone voice or presence in a sea of unbelief. Remember, He leads the way, keep close to him.
The non-negotiables of following Jesus as a disciple are three demands – deny self, take up your cross and follow! Remind yourself that you made a decision. You are already committed to Jesus and there is no going back. What makes you the most uncomfortable when it comes to being a Christian? The answer to that just may be your first step; start there.
In Christ, Pastor Tim