The Cost of Non-Discipleship

Much is made about the cost of discipleship and how hard it is to follow Jesus.  While that is true, it is much harder not to follow him.  James Bryan Smith addresses this in his The Good and Beautiful Life by quoting Dallas Willard:

Nondiscipleship costs abiding peace, a life penetrated throughout by love, faith that sees everything in light of God’s overriding governance for good, hopefulness that stands firm in the most discouraging circumstances, power to do what is right and withstand the forces of evil.  In short, it costs exactly that abundance of life Jesus said he came to bring (John 10:10).  The cross-shaped yoke of Christ is after all an instrument of liberation and power to those who live with him it.

“Instead of focusing so much on the cost of discipleship,” Smith argues, “I think we should stress how bankrupt non-discipleship is.”

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Parents…Please set the Agenda for your Children

I’m grieved by how many parents abdicate their responsibility to set the priorities for their children.  Too many parents are listening to the world and to the “easy way” and letting their children decide things that children weren’t meant to decide.  We make our kids go to school, brush their teeth, go to sleep.  We want them to be active in things outside of home and school so we sign them up for athletic teams or lessons to learn an instrument.  Those are all good things…and we do the same thing.  But my goal is never to substitute a good thing for a GREAT or BEST thing.

I would absolutely love it if one of my kids went to college on an athletic scholarship.  But I’m not going to sacrifice their spiritual, relational, and emotional lives to do it.  It might save us money but at what COST?  Say “NO” to any activity that interferes with your child connecting to God or with His Bride (The Church) or with healthy relationships within the family.  I knew a family once with 3 kids and they had practices and games 5 out of 7 nights a week and ate out almost every night.  They ate more in their mini-van then at the dinner table.  That is insane.

So make it the priority for your kids to be at church and other spiritual experiences (church camp is the #1 place where your child can grow closer to God in a short span and make relationships that last a lifetime).  Make it a priority to eat and talk together regularly.  Then you’ll have a lot less regrets.

Christianity Is Not About Becoming Better People

Christianity is not and can never be about becoming better people.  When you understand the nature of worship, you know that Christianity is about becoming COMPLETE people.  We are complete when we worship God and no one or nothing other.  Anything or anyone else is false.  Therefore, we don’t worship God because it’s what good Christians do, but because we CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT OUR FOCUS ON JESUS.  If we try, we will lose perspective.

Relationships without Conflict are Superficial

When you avoid or sidestep real conflict with someone you love, the other person feels as if you’re devaluing them.  Avoidance eventually undermines the integrity of the whole relationship and keeps it on a superficial level.

If you want to go to a new depth in relationships, it’s essential to be wiling to face difficult issues and stay engaged until you work through them.  There’s power in the process.  Addressing conflict in healthy ways creates a shared experience that bonds the two parties.

Conflict is a sign that a relationship is real.  Relationships without conflict exist only on a superficial level.

Meaningful Relationships Need Intentionality, not just Good Intentions

Meaningful relationships take time, hard work, creativity, and most of all the art of acting intentionally.  In fact, because rewarding relationships don’t happen by accident, intentionality is more important than chemistry.

We usually have good INTENTIONS, but rarely are we INTENTIONAL.

The act of intentionally choosing someone generates a huge amount of energy, hope and joy.

The connections you make with the people in your life may be intentional or convenient, but rarely both.