Tag Archives: narrow gate

Discipleship and the Planet Pluto

There has been a lot in the news lately about the historic NASA mission of the New Horizon’s spacecraft to visit the planet Pluto. This grand piano sized satellite traveled faster than any other earth space craft at a speed of 30,800 miles per hour. At that fastest speed of any known space craft it still took New horizons 9.5 years to cover the 9 billion miles to the dwarf planet. The radio signal from New Horizons to earth to let us know that it had arrived and was functioning took 4 hours and 25 minutes to make the trip of 9 billion miles, and that signal was traveling at the speed of light.

Why all the statistics? Well, besides being a Jesus follower, I also am a nerd [and I mean that with all affection and positiveness.] It’s fascinating to me the amount of time, energy, money, and hard work that it took to achieve this historic achievement.

Something like this doesn’t happen over night. It takes serious commitment and time. To travel through space, endure extreme cold, and radiation, takes careful planning and resoluteness.

Nine and a half years, think about that. What are you committed to for nine and half years? Once New Horizons was launched and began it’s journey there was no turning back. There were all kinds of obstacles and deterrents, but the commitment to go was one way.

This mission to Pluto has brought to the surface, once again the discussion about colonizing the planet Mars. With our best technology and planning and commitment, it is said that if it can happen, those that go, are going with the knowledge that it is a one way trip. If they reach Mars, if they are able to build a sustainable living on Mars, there is no coming back. The technology simply doesn’t exist to get them back to earth. It is a lifetime commitment. Once they lift off, the world behind them, there is no turning back. It will be a one way trip into the unknown.

This led me to reflect on our discipleship journey. Following Jesus is all about commitment. Yet it seems that many in the post modern church have made commitment a dirty word. Why do we think that following Jesus is any less of a commitment than what it takes to build a space craft to travel nine billion miles? Why do we think that discipleship is a journey, in which we have all kinds of options, that our opinion is important, that we chose if it is convenient, and give attention to if we have nothing better to do?
Where do we see Jesus invite his disciples to focus on him for one hour a week and then spend the rest of the week critiquing whether they felt entertained, energized, equipped, and enabled to go about doing what they want to do the rest of the week?
In fact we see the exact opposite:
Matthew 16:24 “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”
Matthew 7:13-14 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
Luke 14:33 “In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.”
Matthew 22:37-39 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Our Jesus is looking for people who are all in.

Our Jesus is looking for people who are all in. Our Jesus is calling people to give their all. Our Jesus expects 100% of us 100% of the time. Our Jesus is presuming commitment.
In a conversation that I with a disciple this week, we were sharing our ideas about trusting in Jesus rather than fighting for control in our lives. We ended our time by encouraging one another and reminding one another that there is a reason that most of the time the commitment to journey with Jesus is called the “practice of discipleship.” The mistakes, not withstanding, do not weaken our commitment on the journey to be more like Jesus today than we were yesterday.

Hillsong produced a song back in 2013 entitled “Christ is Enough” that uses the lyrics from an old hymn. “I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back. The world behind me, the cross before me, no turning back, no turning back.” Video for Christ Is Enough by Hill Song

We all need to be encouraged/challenged in our discipleship. I have decided to follow Jesus. The world behind us, the cross [dying to self] before us. No turning back, no turning back!

Suggested Dusty Discipleship practices…

1. Do a spiritual inventory, how is your commitment level to Jesus? Is there anything you are not doing that you should be doing?
2. Click the link above and listen to the song, Christ Is Enough, and talk with Jesus, reaffirm to Him that he is your reward and all that you will ever need.
3. Challenge “convenience” thinking in your life. Listen for the voice of the Holy Spirit in your life that commands your commitment and obedience.

As always, I look forward to journeying with you, as we are covered in the dust of our Rabbi, Jesus!

Do vs. Be – Law and Relationships

There is a long term debate running, going back centuries, between religious people and Jesus followers.

If you have been around the “Christian” organism for any length of time you have been exposed to this virus.

The division has many descriptors: works righteousness, saved by faith, law vs. grace, etc.

As I live and journey in faith with my brothers and sisters, I often refer to this debate as “do vs. be.”

The two camps, that represent the two positions, mostly talk past one another. But here is a brief synopsis.

The “do” side; represents law, doing the law, doing good works, obedience, right beliefs, right thinking, with the emphasis upon ‘me’ doing the law. The big idea is simply this: reduce following Jesus to “do this” and “don’t do that.” The dangerous side is this: legalism, self righteousness, a sense of “God owes me” for all my ‘right behavior’ and defining who is in and who is out. Why do so many people end up in this camp? Because it is easier.

The “be” side; represents relationships, growing in the likeness of Jesus, relating to others through the lens of Jesus’ love for them and us. The big idea is: Relationships define our existence – our relationship with Jesus and our relationship with others. The dangerous side is this: a blind eye to truth in the name of maintaining relationships, co-dependency, self reliance and self righteousness. Why do so few people choose this camp? Because it is harder.

Doing the Law is always easier than being in a relationship.

We humans trend toward sloth. This is why Jesus said in Matthew 7:13-14, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

From the Garden of Eden on down we have chosen to ‘do’ God rather than be in a relationship with God. One of the blogs that I follow is by a guy named Casey Tygrett. You can find the full post here: Casey Tygrett

In one of his more recent posts he wrote this:

    In a culture that prizes law over wisdom – yes, even the Christian culture – we are constantly looking for what we can and cannot do because it makes things easier. It makes it easier to figure out who is with us and who is against us. It makes it easier to rate our day on a scale of 1 to 5 (well, the anger today was in the 2 range, so I’m going to turn off the divine wrath radar for today) and it makes it easier to read sacred texts that challenge our assumptions because then we can simply find the legality and push ourselves to believe it.

    Then, in a stunning reversal, life happens. The law stops short, here and there, leaving cliff-like gaps between belief and action that take the very breath – the very pneuma out of our lungs.
    Law doesn’t keep our relationships together. Law doesn’t save our marriage. Law doesn’t help us know what to do when we feel different when we feel for God.

Powerful words. Poignant. As I said, most trend toward law, because it is easier. The problem is that we humans also trend toward choosing either or, when what really is needed is both.

Many begin a relationship with Jesus, but then it becomes difficult and challenging. Discipleship of Jesus requires becoming less like us and more like Jesus. Next “most” look around and they see their own foils and fables in most other so called Christians, and they seem to not be working on their relationship. Rather they have chosen the path of law. So the newer believer, assumes the mantle of law, because it is easier, and because it looks like the thing that s/he is supposed to do, because most others are ‘doing’ it that way.

A disciple of Jesus; begins with a relationship with Jesus, and never lets go. The law comes in not to define the boundaries of the sandbox, but as a means of faithfulness and love and devotion in light of our relationship with Jesus. We are transformed into a follower whose inclination toward sin is deterred by the thought, “I love Jesus too much, my relationship with Him is too important to me, to abandon it for a temporary thrill.” It is the relationship with Jesus that informs our view of sin, and as the relationship grows, that sin that was once so attractive, has now begun to tarnish.

There is so much more to understanding discipleship and doing vs. be, I will be exploring more in future posts.

I would love to hear from you, your thoughts on your struggle with doing faith vs. being in a relationship with Jesus.

    Consider the following…
    – Where have I chosen “doing” in my faith rather than “being” in a relationship with Jesus?
    – How do I live out a relationship with Jesus that ‘fulfills’ the law but does not value the laws above relationships?