I am continue to discern and ponder from John MacArthur’s sermon on Heaven! The Narrow Gate or The Broad Gate. Which Path are you on? (a great sermon, it is available on itune to download for free).
When it comes to sharing the Gospel to others, what do I say? Jesus once said in Luke 14:25-34 (The cost of being a Disciple):
25Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple. 27And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. 28“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? 29For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, 30saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31“Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. 33In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple. 34“Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? 35It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out.
“He who has ears to hear, let him hear.“The past Sunday, I did a Half Ironman. It is an endurance event that took me 5 hr 45 min to complete. It is long. In these long events, I have a mantra, whatever you do, finish strong.
It seems to me that Jesus is preaching the same thing. Look, before you want to follow me, figure out what’s going to cost you. You are going to hate your brother, your sister, your dad, your mom, even yourself. To follow me. You don’t want to commit half way and not finish.
When I trained for these events, I often push myself to go harder in the last half than the first half. I have a mentality that in the second half, most people will want to quit. It is natural. The body is tired. The mind is waning. That’s the moment I should focus my effort.
So, as the race goes longer and longer, I become stronger and stronger.
The race I had on Sun was definitely a challenge. The run at the end was brutal. The sun was beating down on us. There was no shade. There was no wind. Everything hurts. The body screams to slow down. Doubts and fear sets in.
I remembered making the decision to slow down. To just walk for a bit. That become instant gratification. Then a thought set in. I might as well walk the rest of the way back to the finish line. I ain’t really racing. This is suppose to be for fun. I haven’t train for this. Nothing to cost me.
There were many internal voices telling me to stop. Quit. Sit for a bit. Just like sin, one sin will lead to another. First a lie, then a gossip, then lust…it is a downward spiral. The path is narrow. It is very easily to sway and be tempted. Distraction is abundant.
Seeking Christ is an intent. It is not a random act. It is a desire to constantly deny oneself and take up the Cross everyday.
I saw an older gentleman passed me. I told myself, if he can do it, I can do it. So I took off and followed him. We ended up running for 4 km or so. He encouraged me. I couldn’t encouarge him. Not because I don’t want to. I was simply keeping along. I don’t have energy to spare on saying one word.
After a while, I passed him. I don’t remember when. I wished I said thanks and parted way. I wished I stayed at the finish line and thank him. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have run the rest of the way.
I wonder if that’s how fellowship is. One person encourage another when the other is down. One keep another accountable. And boy, when the battle in the spiritual whelm gets dicey, and it will if you are follow Christ, there will be many voices to tell each of us to slow down and take it easy. And the temptation will grow ever stronger.
That’s when we need to hold ground, stay strong and focus. Either we tough it out or it wear us down.
God gives Grace abundantly. This Grace, though, free as it may be, should not be associate as cheap. For the cost of being Jesus’ Disciple is far from that.