Friday, December 08, 2006

Discipleship + RVL

This post is a response to a comment from James (see posts from 9/2/2006 and 11/15/2004).

Thanks for commenting on my ancient post (11/15/04). I completely agree with what you had to say. That's the problem with written communication (or at least poorly written communication) - you can't read sarcasm. My point, the one I wanted to make and should have clarified but never did - my point was exactly what you said. When God calls a disciple he is calling us to a radical way of life. We must surrender all of our desires and hopes and dreams to Him. There is no room for holding on to a little bit of self. Being a disciple is not a hobby, or a part-time job, or an interest. It is life.
What I was trying to express (and obviously did not, judging by not only your comment but also the comments from my friends) is our so often blindly self-centered, inadequate response to God's call on our lives. He can really knock us up side the head with an education of sorts, with a revelation of his desire for our lives, with an eyes-wide-open understanding of his call on our lives, and we trivialize it by making our newly-acquired lesson academic and philosophical. We like to make it about ideas instead of action. And in the rare case that we do try to put it to action, we do it on our own terms instead of on the terms demanded by the thing itself. "How can I fit this into my life without interfering with my current level of comfort and satisfaction?" "How can I fit this discipleship thing into my important plans?"

It all reminds me of a discussion from a Men's Bible study we had at school just today, looking at Daniel 4. Nebuchadnezzar was struck down by God and made to see that God, the Lord of Hosts, the Almighty is sovereign over the kingdoms of men. And he does acknowledge this fact, multiple times even, throughout his testimony. But even after spending 7 years out of his mind, eating grass like a cow and living among the wild animals, when his kingdom is returned to him he talks about the "glory of my kingdom" and he mentions how Daniel is also called Belteshazzar, named after one of Nebuchadnezzar's gods. It's like the lesson was only superficial. It didn't sink into the very core of his being like it ought to.

There was a great quote from G K Chesterton in the study as well. I think I'll end with that quote:

“We talk of wild animals, but man is the only wild animal. It is man that has broken out. All other animals are tame animals, following the rugged respectability of the tribe or type. Man is wild because he alone, on this speck of rock called earth, stands up to God, shakes his fist, and says, ‘I do what I want to do because I want to do it, and God had better leave me alone.’”

May God save us from ourselves.