Here is the problem with the way many of us, myself included, live. We want the promises of God, we want the hope that comes from being a Christian, but we are not willing to live like a follower of Jesus. If all that was required to be a Christian was to show up on Sunday morning and sing few songs and listen to a sermon, then being a disciple of Jesus would be easy. The pew would offer us safety and security.
Being a true follower of Jesus is anything but it easy and it certainly isn’t safe. It requires getting out of the pew and living to a high moral standard, a standard that will make us seem like fools or prudes: you are foreigners and aliens here (1 Peter 2:11; NLT). If people don’t think we are strange for the way we live, then we are not living the way God’s wants us to live. It is hard to be different and stand out from the crowd.
Being a disciple of Christ requires a new set of dreams: I have died, but Christ lives in me. And I now I live by faith in the Son of God (Galatians 2:20; CEV). When we made the decision to accept Jesus as our Savior we gave up the right to decide what we will do with our lives. Our lives becomes a matter of God’s will. It is hard to give up on our dreams and follow after Jesus.
This is the point that I want you to understand, by staying in the pews we miss out on the best that God wants for us. The life God has created us to live is discovered in living the life of faith. The life of faith isn’t safe it is a risk and it is the only way we will discover true life.
9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. 12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends. (John 15:9-13, ESV)
A question. Was Jesus safe in loving us?
Absolutely not! By loving us he made himself vulnerable to rejection. By loving us he served people who hated him. By loving us he gave up heaven and lived on this earth. By loving us he died a cruel death on the cross, taking on our sins. Jesus did not live a neat little safe life. Jesus faced struggles. Jesus had hardships. You know what? Jesus also knew love and joy. In spite of all the terrible things Jesus experienced he was able to experience the qualities everyone wants in their lives: love and joy.
We don’t equate pain and joy. For us in order to be happy our lives have to be pain free. According to Jesus the route to a full and joyous life is the route of pain. We discover the life God has for us when we live lives of love, sacrificing our dreams and desires for His will.
We don’t equate serving with love. For us love is about what other people do for us, not what we do for other people. We discover love when we humble ourselves, become a servant, and help people. It isn’t much fun and it is glorifying, but it is how love becomes part of our lives.
Jesus promised us a full life, but He did not promise a life in which we are comfortable and safe. The full and joyful life Jesus promised is discovered in loving God and loving people. Do you want the full life? Get out of the pews trust God with your life and love the people in your life.