BURNING THE SHIP OF EASY, FEEL-GOOD RELIGION
If we want an easy faith, there are plenty to choose from. But following Jesus Christ isn’t one of them. Rewarding? Yes. Fulfilling? Without a doubt. But easy? Hardly ever. Which brings us to the second ship I believe God calls us to burn if we’re going to begin living life and faith with a sense of DESTINY instead of FATE. Christ calls us to BURN THE SHIP OF EASY, FEEL-GOOD RELIGION so we can get on with the work and discipline of being His disciples.
Oh, we love it when Jesus invites us to take His yoke upon us because after all, He’s the One who said in Matthew 11:28, that His “yoke is easy and His burden is light.” And for far too many Christians, these words sound exactly like the kind of connection with God we want: Where we go is up to us, not God. What we do is up to us, not God.
But I don’t think for a minute that Jesus was talking about a light, tranquil, non-demanding, airy, easy, feel-good religion in Matthew 11:28 … What about the context of Jesus’ words in Matthew 11? He’d just been focusing on the sin of unrepentance and on people who couldn’t wait to see Him do outward, physical miracles, but who didn’t want to have a thing with the inward, spiritual miracle of the new birth.
And so it’s to these people … and to any of us who might be in need of this exhortation today … that Jesus Christ is saying … and I’m paraphrasing here …
It’s easy in the way that mastering Bach on the organ is easy when compared to mastering the moral bankruptcy it takes to rob a 7-11 or beat your spouse. Sure it takes work to become spiritually mature, and maturing adults instead of falling-down-all-the-time runny-nosed Jesus-toddlers. But take My word for it – it’s a pursuit that will invigorate you instead of depleting you. Come, on what do you say?” In Romans 8:29 Paul says, “God, in his foreknowledge, has chosen us to take on the family likeness of His Son, Jesus Christ.”
And if we want to “take on the family likeness of Jesus Christ,” then there are some things we must first begin to “take off.” So don’t deceive yourself into thinking that this “taking off” is easy. It’s a lot of things, but easy isn’t one of them.
In fact, BURNING THE SHIP OF SELF-RELIANCE is the “working out of our salvation” that Paul talks about in Philippians 2:12 and it’s the work Jesus spoke of in John 6:27 when he said, “Do not work for the food which perishes, but work for the food which endures to eternal life.” (italics mine) Now I know that we don’t work for salvation.
But you know what? We do work toward maturity. Or as my friend from the coal-mining mountains of Pennsylvania, Kelvin Mays used to say, going after maturity in Christ, “ain’t no ride in no pink duck.” So Jesus calls us to BURN THE SHIP OF SELF-RELIANCE and begin depending on Him.
And Jesus calls us to BURN THE SHIP OF EASY, FEEL-GOOD RELIGION and begin understanding the weight of our sin and the cost of discipleship.
But Jesus also calls us to BURN THE SHIP OF SPIRITUAL PRETENSE. But more about that later ... Godspeed.