Every day, I wake up, I stretch a little, looking at my alarm clock that has saved my tail many a time now. I look out the window and watch the sun rise (at least most of the time I’m waking up in the morning), enjoying the time to just sit and watch as the sky brightens up and gets ready for the day. I get out of bed and I make my way for a hot shower and to shave; I remember to put deodorant on and brush my teeth with my Braun 3D Excel powered toothbrush. Next its time to get dressed. I sit down and read through the daily devotional of Oswald Chambers “My Utmost for His Highest” and say a quick prayer. Once I feel like I can face the world, I head out of my apartment and hop in my Maxima, popping in some music like Bebo Norman or Third Day and let their uplifting lyrics help me to get in the mood of the day.
I must sound like such a good guy, such a wonderful person, someone who’s life is owned by Christ. I must sound like a bondservant of Christ in today’s postmodern world, someone that can do no wrong.
Yet, much like Paul (Saul of Tarsus), I feel as though I am one of the most grievous sinners of all time. Reading through the Gospel of Jesus Christ as recounted by Luke the physician, I am blown away by how far my life is from that of Paul’s or any of the other apostles. Reading through Chapter 14, verses 25 through 35 I am befuddled by this parable of Christ Jesus.
“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.” (NASB, Luke 14:26).
I read this and my first reaction, much like those of others is that something is amiss here, but then again it must be remembered that this is a parable–those that are going to get it will get it, others will merely dismiss it and continue to throw out rhetorical questions like those of the Pharisees whos souls were like empty tombs. To truly follow Jesus (even though you might say, “But House you already are following Christ, you’ve got the music, the lifestyle…”) the need to just give up everything and follow Him is needed. Does this mean giving up my computer, my car, my Palm pilot, my class ring from UVA? Not necessarily.
I mean besides, I thought that the moment that I accepted Jesus Christ that I was a Christian and that’s all there was to it. But then I read this and I see that to follow Him I’ve got to give up everything — family and friends too? But then I realize after reading this that to love those around me, I need be in love with Jesus all the more.
Becoming a Christian costs you nothing. It is a free gift of complete forgiveness, eternal life, and the Holy Spirit indwelling in you permanently. The fact that it is free doesn’t cheapen this gift. It is free because we could never earn it, and it is precious because it cost Jesus his life. But it is genuinely free. He paid the full price, and all you have to do is admit you need it and humbly receive it (quote Jn. 4:10; Eph. 2:8,9). This decision is mandatory in the sense that you cannot be accepted by God unless you make it.1
Have I pushed away from the wall as I swim toward Christ as He leads me? Or am I merely floating on my back looking at the pretty clouds? I would say that I’m struggling to push off the wall, with hundreds of pounds of gear on me, hindering me and slowing me down, all sold to me by Satan as something that would help me out.
Then as I begin to swim out, feeling as though perhaps the weights aren’t affecting me as much, I start to have visions of a mission that I should be on… a cause. Whether it be to help out friends in need, or to make a better computer interface for a website, I start having thoughts of grandeur that somehow it will please God, when in reality it is only me going and pushing to be put upon a pedastal somewhat the way Olympic athletes are when they medal in an event, standing for all to see, having their country’s anthem played. I’m not quite sure what would be played if I were to accomplish a humanistic cause, but I would hope that it would be something that would be moving to people, like Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings.
So what does the title of this have to do with anything? Duolos, its the Greek word for bondservant. I am starting to understand that I can be a bondservant here in America, not going to East Asia like friends are, not going to Mexico like some students have in the past. Rather I need to fully commit my life here in Virginia to God, not questioning His plans for me, not questioning whether or not it is the write thing for me to move back to Alexandria, or whether or not it is right for me to continue working where I am working after I move. There are hundreds of questions that seem to be unanswered, just like any college student, they have so many questions as to what they’re going to do when they graduate. For me, I figured that I would stay at UVA and get my masters and PhD in Physics and go onto some plush job where I would be able to apply what I had learned and play with fiber optics for the rest of my life. I didn’t have God in this plan, nor did I have God on my sheet of people to contact to make sure that this was okay with.
I challenge each and everyone of you to look into your life and think about what it is that pushes you and what it is that gives you your drive, what it is that you seek to accomplish in this life. Is it for God, or is it for your own personal legacy?
1 – Luke 14:25-35, Becoming Jesus’ Disciple, Gary DeLashmutt. http://www.xenos.org/ct_outln/lk14-35.htm.