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Devotion#30 – Tuesday, March 15

Casual Christianity – “When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away.” Matthew 13:21

Casual Christianity is an oxymoron. There is no such things as a low-commitment version of our faith. It is impossible to say, “I’m a follower of Jesus, but I’m not prepared to lay my life down for the gospel.” Both of those assertions can’t be true. “When Jesus calls a man,” to quote Bonhoeffer, “He bids him come and die.” Ours is a faith that demands our entire allegiance; it can be no halfhearted things. Church history is filled with martyrs. Whole communities have been tortured or imprisoned. Whether this is a tragedy or glory of the church, it is in fact both, is not the point. It is a given. It is assumed of Jesus’ followers that they will follow Him wherever He goes. And He goes to places like the cross.

Martyrdom is not something that confronts most of us. Few of us are persecuted. Yet all of us can say with assurance that sometimes following our Savior is difficult. He asks us to make sacrifices. He asks us to be obedient, even when obedience is painful. And though He doesn’t ask all of us to die for Him, He does ask us to live for Him. When we were bought by His blood, we became His possession. Gloriously, joyfully His possession, but HIS nonetheless. One of the great weaknesses of today’s American church is our unwillingness to humble ourselves as our Savior did. We are often consumer Christians, shopping around for a faith that suits us well. But when we really encounter Christ we face a choice: Stand firm in our faith, despite our many tests and troubles, or settle for a lukewarmness that can barely, if at all, be called “Christian.” We must be prepared for the trials. They will come. And how we respond will tell us, and others, whether we are His disciples.

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