Yesterday I read the first chapter of Dietrich Bonhoeffer's book "The Cost of Discipleship". I've read this book before, but since a group of people from my home church are reading/studying it together over the next few weeks, I decided that I would read it again and follow along in the conversation. The nice thing about "doing" this study 3000 miles away from the people I'm working thru it with though, is that I can come to terms with my feelings on the book, long before I have to share any real feelings about it with anyone in the study. I like that...a lot! There's something about "heady" Christian books... you know, those books that you have to read and re-read paragraphs over and over again in order to try and grasp the main point... that makes me feel super uneasy about talking and sharing about it in a group setting. So this living in Ecuador while the rest of the group is in Connecticut, is pretty much a happy medium in this whole book study endeavor!
Anyway, I finished up the first chapter thinking about how over the past several years my Christian walk as clearly moved from being "I try to live for God so that He will love and save me" to "I am completely and fully loved and saved by God and because of all He's done for me, I want to live for Him". And yet I still feel in a sense there's still so much more to this God-Me relationship that I've yet to discover. For instance, one of the points I seem to be gleaming from Bonhoeffer is that it's not that we just WANT to live for Christ, it's not that we just DESIRE to follow Him, it's that in light of who God is, we MUST live for Him...we are OBLIGATED to if we are truly His disciples. It's like what Paul says in the book of Romans, we are no longer our own, we are Slaves to Christ, and a slave can't just do whatever he wants, he must do what his master says!
As I consider that and then look over my own life, I must admit that there are still so many ways I live for Jessica and not for Jesus. There are so many times that my decisions are based on my comfort and my attitudes and my desires, as opposed to what God wants and what He's calling me to. And, if I can just be really honest for a moment, there are even times when I don't even think about God, let alone consider what He would do or what He is saying! I'm not a slave to Christ...I am more like a employee who has sick days and goes on vacation from time to time.
That's a hard thing to admit....especially as a "missionary" and especially as someone who is an "example" to others. I'm not proud that I still so easily fall back into the patterns of this world and I honestly don't think it's okay that I do that! It's so easy to try and justify myself and I certainly enjoy the feeling of comfort I get thru the idea that "I'm only human". However, I know God is calling us to so much more....He's calling me to more...and I know I can give more...and what I think it comes down to is Trust!
Now I know I just shared in one of my post the other day about how much I trust God. That's not a lie, I trust God so much more today than I did a month ago, a year, even two years ago...and like I said in that previous post, I wouldn't be at this level of trust with God, if I hadn't left the USA and come here to Ecuador these past few years. But there's so much more room for growth in that area in my relationship with God....so much. God's given His all to Me, there's no reason not to trust Him fully and Give my all to Him! It's like the John Legend lyrics... "Give your all to me, I'll give my all to you, You're my end and my beginning, Even when I lose I'm winning, Cause I give you all of me and you give me all of you"... obviously the context of the song isn't the same as what I am talking about here, but the concept is still there. That's what my relationship with God should look like...My all for His all because He gave His all for Me.