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Chapter three of Jon Walker‘s Costly Grace is called “Becoming Like Jesus in Obedience.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote: “The actual call of Jesus and the single-minded obedience have an irrevocable significance.  By means of them Jesus calls people into an actual situation where faith is possible.”


Jesus’ Objective: To teach us that we will only develop faith when we take steps that require us to obediently trust Jesus–but those steps must be the ones Jesus tells us to take.

Simply put, according to Walker, we do not get to the life God desires on our own terms.  Rather, it comes through single-minded obedience to Jesus.  Like a paratrooper, we do not hesitate at the door of the plane.

The real question is: did you sign up to be a paratrooper or nor? If the answer is yes, then they must learn to jump without reservation or hesitation.  They must trust that the plane is at the right attitude and going the right speed, that they are over the target, that the pilot knows what he is doing.

Christian discipleship (that is, following Jesus) is not living out the old life and then doing that one thing to get us into heaven.  Rather, discipleship is…

…is about irrevocably leaving your present life behind and entering a new life, where Jesus is the center of significance.

But like the young rich ruler who rejected the demands of Jesus, we can be loyal to other pursuits that keep us from fully following Jesus. Anything that is more important than Jesus is idolatry.  While we might think we are “secure” in our idols, just the opposite is true–we are insecure.  The boat in rough waters may seem like the safest place to be.  But if Jesus calls to get out of the boat, the safest place is actually on the raging sea.  Thus, we should not hesitate or speculate what to do next.  Jesus has clearly told us!  Walker put it this way:

The call of discipleship is to follow after Jesus, even onto the water.  In a sense, Jesus beckons: “Come closer to me.  Be my disciple.  Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.  I am the only way.  So I require you to be focused exclusively on me in your obedience.”

When that doesn’t happen, we will be like Peter who took his eyes off and sunk into the water.  The reason so many Christians are so unstable in their faith is that their eyes are not entirely focused on Jesus.  On top of that, the sin of anxiety is the opposite of trust in Jesus.  Many Christians are like small children who are too scared to come out of the closet.  Like scared children, we can rationalize our way out of obedience to Jesus.  Walker echoes Bonhoeffer when he writes…

Jesus is always looking at the end game.  He knows that time is ticking down to the final judgment and he wants as many people as possible prepared for his return.  And by commanding we give him single-minded obedience, he focuses us on the things that are essential.  We live with our eyes on his imminent return and our minds on kingdom thoughts.

Yet, the same problem exists today as in 1930’s in Germany.  We allow the church or ourselves to define what a Christian is rather than letting Jesus decide!

A mindset of a radical (normal) Christian is that Jesus will purposely put us into situations where faith is possible.  Our responsibility is to listen to Jesus and then do what he says.  When we obey, we give ourselves to Jesus rather than to the command of Jesus.   Walker invites us to think of grace as a orchestra…

The maestro will demand you to give up anything that distracts, anything that hinders your progress, any habit or attitude that simply isn’t fitting for the for the grand performance to come.  The maestro will not compromise in his standards of excellence; yet, every day he will be by your side, encouraging you in your development as a musician.

Again Walker concluded with examples of Fallen Thinking…My delayed obedience is a matter of prudence; I demand that I understand everything before I am obedient.

And,

Kingdom Thinking…Obeying Jesus is the safest, smartest thing I can do.  when I am obedient to him, I can rest in his grace and protection, knowing he goes before and before me.

Amen!

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