Uncomfortable Christianity
Susanne Scheppmann

“Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23 (NIV)

We huddled around a large black granite conference table. We debated the needs of our church. “What would be the best approach to disciple new believers?” We flip-flopped between an easy Bible basics class and sessions on essential Christian concepts. “But, we don’t want to scare anyone off,” someone said. “We need to make it comfortable.”

A young man who sat directly across from me said, “I find nothing in the Bible that says Christianity is supposed to be comfortable or easy.”

The group stared in amazement. The truth of this young man’s words hung heavy in the air. I experienced two feelings at once. First, I felt a wave of humbleness flood my spirit. I recognized that I sat across from a man ready to die for his faith in Christ, if necessary. Secondly, I wanted to jump up and clap in admiration for this godly young man who was half my age.

I left the meeting with a renewed hope for the future of the Christian church. God is raising up men and women who will not allow their faith to be watered down by today’s secular culture.

This man inspired my faith. His readiness to sacrifice comfort for Christ stirred my own sleepy spirit. Revelation 2:4 popped into my thoughts, “You have forsaken your first love (NIV).” It’s easy for me to slide into my comfort zone of faith and away from the daily self-sacrifice that Jesus calls me to live.

Challenged, I turn again toward the cross with hope and expectation. It will not always be easy. It may make other people uncomfortable. Nevertheless, I desire to follow Jesus as He commanded, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

Do you hear Jesus calling you out of comfortable Christianity?

Lord Jesus, I admit sometimes I replace my devotion to You with comfortable Christianity. Teach me to take up my cross daily and follow You. Help me never to replace my love for You with anything else. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do you know Him?

Perplexing Proverbs by Susanne Scheppmann

God’s Purpose for Every Woman, Lysa TerKeurst and Rachel Olsen, General Editors

Application Steps:
Go to your local library or Christian bookstore to obtain a copy of Jesus Freaks by D.C. Talk or Foxe’s Book of Martyrs by John Fox. Read the stories and be challenged in your faith.

Reflections:
Do I live in “comfortable” Christianity?

What self-sacrifice do I hesitate to make?

Am I willing to be love Jesus radically?

Power Verses:
Luke 14:27, “And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”
(NIV)

Titus 2:12, “It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.” (NIV)

Romans 14:8, “If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.” (NIV)

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4 Comments:

Blogger strive to be p31 said...

Once again I am amazed that this day's devotion parallels what I was led to study minutes before I logged on! I was just studying about how to get out of our comfort zones and be a witness to all that Jesus has done in our lives. Thanks for another on-point devotional. Another way I am breaking the ice in conversations is when anything is mentioned about the web I suggest this website to my women-friends. Please continue the good work!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a great devotion! Some very well meaning Christians want to baby people when what they are really doing is saying - I can handle the hard stuff but others can't in essence they are taking God's place without meaning too. We need to be challenged as well as challenging others to dig deeper and learn God's word to become truly effective disciples. Live well, laugh often, Love much...pressing on. Thanks, Rhonda Hash

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found this devotion unconfortable, not because it is too hard to discipline someone in the church, but because it is too easy. I have sat through a few committee meetings in my 20 years of being a pastor's wife and I have found that mercy was the one ingredient missing in all. Everyone wanted the example to be set for others but no one was taking into account the pain that was being suffered by the innocent family memebers of the one that needed "discipline". My sisters I urge you as James did to "Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!"
Your's in Christ, Yolanda Medina

Blogger Rachel Olsen said...

Dear Yolanda - I hear you girl!

This devotion was actually meant to address the issue of teaching someone to be a disciple, not of handing out discipline or judgment. Small letter difference in the 2 words, but a rather big meaning difference.
Blessings to you and your husband as you lead your church.

Rachel Olsen
Senior Editor
Encouragement for Today

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