This is an interesting time to live, to say the least. It’s become “normal” (I think that word even has new meanings now) to hear phrases like, “this is unprecedented” and “I’ve never lived through anything like this before.” Now, my teenage daughter schools me (seems like daily) on words or phrases I don’t know. I always come back with (I always said I would never be this old person!), “Well believe it or not, when I was your age, we had slang terms and made up words that we used too. Now let me go and watch Matlock and make my dinner before 5:00 rolls around.” Ha!
Ok, so we’ve established that there are new words, or new ways to use words, and slang. But nothing is new there. That’s always been and will always probably be. What worries me and what I am mostly concerned with is how much it is becoming normal to cancel anyone out that has any type of truth claim, or something that may not be agreeable. If you don’t like it, then just get rid of it. If it doesn’t make you feel good, then it’s wrong. But don’t call anyone wrong, because there is no wrong…unless they disagree with that last statement…or anything I espouse to.
Can you feel it? Can you sense and maybe even physically see the onslaught coming from all directions? What I mean is that there have always been attacks coming at us. More specifically, there have always been evil and immoral ideologies, teachings, and philosophies of living. And there have always been people pushing them. However, now it seems as if all bets are off and the filters have been thrown to the side. Everything is being pushed now. You are wrong if you say someone is wrong. You are wrong if you only describe someone as a male or female. You are also wrong if you say they are one, when they identify as another one. You are even wrong if you call a person a human, when they don’t want to be human. You’re also wrong if you hold a different opinion, or don’t affirm everything and everyone (transexuals, transgenders, pansexuals, and pedophiles isn’t far from full acceptance). My daughter even read the other day where people are now identifying as transabled (choosing to be disabled, or merely identifying as disabled).
That’s just part of it. It is becoming obvious that we are just wrong if we follow the teachings of the Bible. We still have privileges now and can worship and follow the Bible. I’m not going to overreact and claim extreme persecution when it’s not fully there, yet. However, it seems to be trending that direction. More than likely, what we’ll experience first is a push for the church to be more accepting of immoral lifestyles and in general, downplay sin and don’t call it out. If we do that, then society outside the church will be ok, because it’s not any different. But that’s nothing new. You can see that in the Bible.
Our question that we must answer is, are we ready to follow Jesus no matter the cost? The old hymn lyrics come to mind. “I have decided to follow Jesus…No turning back. No turning back.”
What is the cost?
Jesus said in Luke 14:26-27, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” Using hyperbole and strong words, Jesus says that following Him means that He is number one. Not pretty high. He’s not a close second, or even tied with our parents, siblings, or spouse. He’s first. Often I hear how people have softened the meaning of the phrase “carry my cross” to basically mean “something I gotta do that I don’t really want to.” I’ve even said it in humorous ways. “Kyle I can’t believe you let your daughter and that little girl paint your fingernails.” “Oh I know. I guess this is just the cross I bear as a dad.” First off, don’t judge that I let them do that…once. To a person in the first-century, the cross meant one thing and one thing only: death by the most painful and humiliating means human beings could develop. Simply put, if you say you are willing to follow Jesus, are you willing to die for Him? Are you willing to give up everything and be His disciple? It is an absolute surrender to Him and Him alone. Practically, how should that look in our lives?
Do what Jesus says to do
When Jesus said to take up your cross and follow Him, He is speaking authoritatively. It’s not an option. He is not a way, He is the way (Jn. 14:6). So in our daily living, we abandon everything else that comes in opposition to His place and will.
Go where Jesus tells you to go
The great commission comes to mind here. “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” He also said to Peter and John, “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people” (Matt. 4:19). So where do we go? Everywhere we possibly can, have the opportunity to go, and wherever He may specifically say. And so if we couple this command with the last (Do what Jesus says to do), then we see clearly that we are to go everywhere and make disciples.
Say what Jesus tells you to say
This might be more specifically related to the cancel culture that we are presently dealing with. Jesus said that people would hate us, simply because we’re with Him and follow Him (Jn. 15:18-19). He told them and us beforehand. So in essence, this present cancel culture shouldn’t be something that completely catches us off guard. We know that people are against Jesus. That’s to be expected. So now we know and we should be prepared. How do we prepare? We settle it in our mind that no matter what I have decided to follow Jesus. I have decided to follow Jesus. I have decided to follow Jesus. No turning back. No turning back. Church, let’s settle it in our minds now. We have counted the cost. We choose to die to our old selves and live for Jesus alone. Although the world may be against Jesus we will follow Him. Although no one may go with us as we strive to live all in for Him. Still we will make a beeline for Him alone. And even though we feel as if we’re the only ones living righteously (think Elijah and the loneliness he felt), nothing can derail us from the single path that leads to the King of Kings.