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Jon Walker‘s book, Costly Grace was released on October 1.  It is a book that is based on Dietrich Bonhoeffer‘s classic work, The Cost of Discipleship.

 

The fifth chapter is “Becoming Like Jesus in Our Loyalty”.  Jesus said in Luke 14:26… 

Those who come to me cannot be my disciples unless they love me more than they love father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and themselves as well.

The objective of Jesus is…

To teach us that, because the life of Christ flows from him through us to others, in a conflict of loyalties, Jesus must always get the higher priority.

Since that is the case, the call of Jesus will separate us from family and friends and nationality and traditions.  There will be times when Jesus wants us to stand alone for him.  Walker describes this as “uncompromising loyalty.”

Jesus will not share your affection for him with anyone else, not even you own family.  If you are faced with a choice between loyalty to him and your loyalty to your father or mother, sister or brother, you must choose Jesus or you cannot claim to be his disciple!

I like Walker’s words when he writes that in order to enter the narrow gate, we must think small and travel light.  We cannot be dragging around a huge backpack filled with “heavy regrets from the past and superficial distractions from the present.”  Walker quoted the wisdom of missionary and martyr Jim Elliot: “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

Walker then correctly pointed out that Christians (probably American Christians) may see Jesus as “ruthless” in his demands for us.  But Jesus has the end goal in mind for us.  He sees the bigger picture of us being formed into the image of himself.  That transformation begins in this life time as we get to know Jesus.  It is like getting married, we leave our former relationships so that we can be united with Jesus.

Walker also explained how our oneness with Jesus allows us to be one with others.  As we are connected with Jesus, we can love others and respond to them as eternal beings.  Some relationships will be severed because of loyalty to Jesus.  Yet as Jesus flows though us, we will be able to connect with others.

To be loyal to Jesus, we must see what Jesus see.  Walker bluntly writes that we must put Christ above all things and people:

The world is winding down and he wants you and everyone connected to you to join him in the kingdom of heaven.  There is no time for reindeer games or dangerous delusions.  It is time to face the truth and live according to the truth.

All of life must be seen through Jesus:

He is the reality, the practical, the relevant and we begin to see all other things through him…And with kingdom eyes, suddenly that cranky spouse becomes an eternal being you must love and respect.

Walker also wrote that Jesus calls us to be part of community that is centered on Christ.  It is not a superficial community based on selfishness and fear and manipulation.  Rather,

We can now be who we are and our brothers and sisters can be who they are.

Jesus will be the center of all our relationships within the Christian community.

In conclusion:

We can measure our obedient trust in Jesus by looking at who gets our highest loyalty.  If there is anyone other than Jesus at the top of the list, the cost of our discipleship is subjugating that relationship to Jesus.  Jesus must be at the top of our loyalty list.

An example of Fallen Thinking:

I might miss out on something if I’m committed exclusively to Jesus.

An example of Kingdom Thinking:

In a conflict of loyalties, Jesus always gets the higher priority.

And that is the message of Dietrich Bonhoeffer.  It is a message that is greatly needed for twenty first century Christians!


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