If you didn’t read yesterday’s blog, this one may not make much sense, but if you did here’s the rest of my story from my book, The 10 Second Rule:
“A crisis of faith triggered by cancer forced me to take a second look at Jesus, trying to figure out what I’d missed. And as I began rereading the Gospels, here’s what started to trip me up:
Do good to those who hate you. Deny yourself daily. I came not to be served, but to serve. But I say forgive seventy times seven. Whoever wants to be first…must become last. No man can serve two masters. Give to the one who asks you. Give no thought for tomorrow.
This Jesus who said these things appeared to be anything but sensible! Here was God himself in Jesus Christ inviting all who would enter his kingdom to abandon comfortable Christianity – to abandon the common sense I prized so highly, the very thing that governed my life. Leave it at the door, he was saying. I’ll meet you at the foot of the cross, where your old life will end and the new life I’ll give you will begin. I’ll issue you new instructions from there. Trust me – and come follow me.
I found nothing in the Gospels that sounded even remotely like the church-on-Sundays-and-Wednesdays, believe-in-the-Bible, serve-on-some-committees plan. The beige plan.
What the Jesus of the Gospels seemed to be calling me to frightened and confused me, partly because it threatened the very survival of every aspect of my carefully planned life. Besides, I knew very few Christians who actually lived like that. I had always admired the few I did know in my church – the really gung-ho types. You know the ones I mean. The ones always more than willing to serve anyone anytime, the first to sign up for a month-long missions trip to Mexico in the sweltering heat of summer. I cheered them on from the sidelines. I just didn’t see the point, for myself, of being overly obedient or spiritual. I didn’t need box seats in heaven – after all, how bad could the bleachers be? I was in.
Was I? The more I read the Bible, the only plan Jesus ever seemed to offer was: I am the way, the truth, and the life. Deny yourself Take up your cross daily and follow me. Imitate me. Love others more than yourself. Apparently the gold plan.
And, it was slowly dawning on me, sitting in church every Sunday, I was theologically certain but an obedience coward – no better than Peter. I could almost hear the cock crowing – this time for me!
It wasn’t until I was thirty-one, the proverbial rich young ruler – husband, father of three, Sunday school teacher, deacon, a twice-on-Sunday Christian – that a bonfire of true faith was lit inside me. To this day, I’m not sure if God simply fanned into flames the pilot light of faith I received as a child or if I was truly born again.
This much is certain: I fell in love with Jesus and repented of both my stubborn, sinful heart and most of my cultural Christianity. This time, I gladly and unashamedly pledged my eternal allegiance to him and to his kingdom agenda.
It felt like I had been born again! I felt like a boy on the first day of spring – so happy I couldn’t take it all in. People thought I’d “gone religious.” Just the opposite – I was in love with God, not religion. But that’s another story for another day, which he’s still writing for me.”
Quoted from the opening pages of The 10 Second Rule
My second question for you: If you’re still stuck in the gerbil-like routine of beige Christianity, what really keeps you from “going for it?”