26 March 2015

It's A Wonderful Life - Really (part two)

Last time, I explored a little about how life can often get more than a little uncomfortable for a Christian. However, we are comforted by the fact that we don't face these things on our own...

Whoever said that following Jesus was going to be easy? Well, they were wrong. Those of us who follow the teachings of Jesus are called to be disciples. The term 'disciple' is derived from the Greek word mathetes, which means a pupil (of a teacher) or an apprentice (to a craftsman), And by necessity, a disciple undergoes discipline (it's from the same Latin word). That means commitment, and that means training.

This discipline doesn't mean that God is angry with you. Quite the opposite. Jesus became sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21), so that we are no longer condemned (Romans 8:1).

No, this is more like military basic training. Combat situations are difficult to handle, so training has to be tough. You need to be prepared for all situations, Troops need to be ready to follow orders instantly -  it could save their life and that of their comrades.

Jesus can be just as relentless in his training. As mentioned last time, we may even be tempted to think that He is cruel because of the amount of pain He puts us through. Training can be hard - because life can be hard. He wants you to trust Him - in all things - at all times.

Think of a couple of experiences in your own life - the ones you learnt from most. How many of those experiences were comfortable? None, probably.  How often did you want to give up? How often did you wonder if it was worth it? How often did you get mad at your instructor for pushing you beyond what you thought necessary?

Some teachers give up on their students if they don’t get it after one or two attempts. In military basic training, those who can't hack it are forced to quit or are 'washed out'.

God isn't like that – He perseveres with us, no matter how long it takes us to understand his message. "They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness." (Hebrews 12:10).

He really does care for us. He wants us to be comfortable. He wants your ultimate comfort so much, that He will make you very uncomfortable in order to give it to you.

Does that make sense?

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