Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.”Matthew 16:24-25
One of the major idols in America is the god of comfort and safety. The pandemic exposed this as people’s illusion of control was dismantled. Yet, so many churches have some sort of promise of “safety” on their websites. They advertise their church as a “safe place” to (fill in the blank). But I have never found following Jesus to be safe or comfortable. Jesus warned us about this when He invited us to take up our cross and follow Him.
I long for a generation of churches that would rise up and boldly put the truth on their websites. It might look something like this:
“Welcome to our church. We want you to be a part of our community. But we must warn you, this is not a safe place. Jesus, like Aslan, is good but not safe. If you want safe, the country club is down the street. No, here you will be asked to die. Following Jesus is not just a ticket to heaven. It’s a ticket to the cross that will then be followed by a resurrected life that you can’t fathom.
You will be asked to sacrifice the things you most cherish. You’ll be invited to give beyond what you think is possible. You’ll be challenged to let go of your comforts and step into the unsafe world of risk and vulnerability. You will not be protected from life’s hardships. In fact, if you want to follow Jesus, those hardships will increase.
You will witness extraordinary miracles. God will send his power to flow through you in unbelievable ways, and it will cost you everything. This is not just a hospital for sinners. This is the frontlines in a war that has been raging for 2000 years between followers of Jesus and the kingdom of darkness. We do have a medical tent when you need it. But don’t get too comfortable there because we need you to heal up and man your post. You can expect to get wounded along the way. You will then be asked to become a wounded healer once you are healed. So if you are ready to lay down your life so that you might find it, this is the place for you!”
I imagine the church in America would be much, much smaller and much, much more powerful. In other words, we’d look more like the book of Acts.