“Our faith isn’t affecting culture. Neither is it affecting us. We live in a completely separate culture. When we say we are, ‘in the world but not of it,’ we are misleading ourselves. We aren’t in it at all. We’re so focused on ‘living by the book,’ we miss the reason why it was written.”
Travis Klassen, from “Affectless Faith” in “Rethink Monthly”
We live in an era that is all about me, myself and I. We constantly ask, “How does this benefit me? What will it cost me?”
If I tell you that your faith cost you nothing yet means giving up everything, will you still want that faith? Klassen got it right when he said, “We forget that our faith cost us next to nothing. But it cost Jesus everything to purchase for us.”
Too often we say, “I will die for Jesus.” But death is easy. For those of us who are in Christ, death is not the end, but the beginning. What is better than being home, the place we were created for?
Do we really believe that we would die for that which we do not live for? You would have to be mentally insane to die for something you did not truly believe.
Yet we live as if we can bear the name of Christ and not pick up our cross. Jesus made it clear to those who were following Him, “Anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:27). Christ and the cross can not and should not be separated. That is why Paul says, “We preach Christ and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 1:23).
To be a disciple back then meant to give up family, wealth, possessions and, for many, their very lives. But for many today, to be a disciple of Christ means going to church occasionally, attending a Bible study when we feel like it, going to coffee shops and talking “spiritually” or listening to Christian music. We believe when it is relevant to us or when it doesn’t cause us to step out of our comfort zones.
Quite often, I, too, fall into that pattern of thinking. But recently, I sat down and started searching the Scripture, and I started to see the problem in my thinking and the way I lived. I had fooled myself into believing Christ could be the Savior of my life but the Lord only when it suited me.
Many of us still have the mind set that we can have Christ without carrying our cross. The problem with that thinking is it doesn’t align with God’s Scripture or Christ’s sacrifice. Each is hand-in-hand. In no way can they be separated.
I think the disciples understood this. They lived out their faith, enough to the point that they would die for it. They believed Christ was who He said He was, and they carried that truth like a beacon of light into a world of darkness. The world had never seen anything like it; men and women not only spoke about their faith, but lived it.
Now I want you to think about this: Jesus with the 12, then with the 42, turned this world upside down.
They weren’t just more “spiritual.” No, they bought into Christ and His message. They lived and breathed for Christ and as Paul said, “For your sake, we face death all day long…” (Romans 8:36).
What would happen if the 900 or so students at Corban College were willing to daily pick up the cross? What if 900 students truly believed that Christ is who He said He is, and the Bible is the Word of God and not just another text book? What if we not only carried that message within us, but we lived it out?
I believe that 900 students, knowing that even the gates of Hell itself could not hold back the rushing wave of faith, would rock Salem, Keizer, Portland, Oregon, the United States, the world!
God is willing to use those who are willing to be used! But the question remains: Will you take up your cross and follow Him?