I’m not sure why I continue to read Dave Black’s blog. I always come across nuggets like this that point out my own selfishness (Friday, May 15, 2009 at 9:17 am):
In the church, our opposition is not basically outward and physical but inward and spiritual. It is, in fact, diabolical, led and planned by the devil himself. Scripturally, we are expected to acquire all we can by way of preparation, and then apply everything we acquire in the actual fight. Knowing biblical truth is not enough. We must live it out as well. “By this,” said Jesus, “everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.” The Bible knows nothing of a disciple who does not live and serve and love others radically. We are called upon to give our all for the cause; we are called upon to sacrifice ourselves for the blessing of others. “Christian warfare” is hardly bellicose! It does not seek to “win.” It involves “losing” — the sacrifice of self on behalf of other people. It means being willing to deny myself, my own ambition, anything that centers on “me” — for the benefit of others. I am even called upon to lay down my life if necessary.
Did you see what he said? “The Bible knows nothing of a disciple who does not live and serve and love other radically”.
Well, the Bible may know nothing of this kind of disciple, but I know him all too well. In fact, I am that disciple. Well, I want to think of myself as a disciple. But, if Dave is correct… and I think he is… then many times it’s not Jesus that’s I’m following (the meaning of “disciple”). Instead, I’m following my self – my own desires – my own priorities – my own purposes – my own likes and dislikes – me, myself, and I.
To be completely honest, I’m tired of this. I’m tired of living for myself much of the time. I want to follow Jesus 24/7… seriously. But, I don’t do it.
So… you may be thinking… Alan, why don’t you just do more? Why don’t you just follow closer? Why don’t you just act better?
Because that would not help my situation at all. Anything that I do on my own strength will be more of the same – that is, more of Alan. I don’t want more of Alan… I want less of him.
You see, my failures do not make me want to try harder. Just the opposite. My failures in following Jesus make me want to stop doing things on my own (which is where and when I fail), and submit completely to Jesus Christ – to die, as it were, even if I must die literally.
My failures simply remind me of God’s grace. Yes, I am an imperfect follower of Jesus (“disciple”), but I remain God’s child. Why? Because I’m not God’s child because of the way that I follow Jesus. I’m God’s child because of his grace. And, I will remain God’s child in spite of the face that I do not live and serve and love others radically.
Oh, but how much I desire to live and serve and love others radically!! And, I thank God for that desire, and I earnestly pray that He changes me into a followers who continues to live and serve and love others more. But, I will not do this on my own. I can’t.
So, the next time you see me at a time when I’m not living and serving and loving others radically, you can remind me of my desire. Then, together, we can thank God for his grace and for the fact that he’s continue to transform us. Then, we can live our messy lives together.