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As we continue our look of Jon Walker‘s  Costly Grace. This book offers a contemporary look of Dietrich Bonhoeffer‘s well-known work, The Cost of Discipleship.

Chapter 16 is called “Becoming Like Jesus in Spiritual Disciplines.”  The objective of Jesus, according to Matthew 6:16-18 is:

To teach us that our spiritual habits should help us develop intimacy with the Father, not praise for ourselves…If you want to be like Jesus, then the thing to do is to follow him into a relentless obedience to God’s will and to stop drawing attention to yourself and your own spirituality. Focus on pleasing the Father and not pleasing yourself or pleasing those around you.

There are two ways to live: live for Jesus or live according to the ways of the world.  The ways of the world will be constant attempts to not only bring attention to ourselves but also to get some kind of reward from God.  For example, when we fast, we can make it obvious to others that we are fasting or we can go about it quietly in devotion to Jesus.  Fasting along with prayer and Scripture meditation are all normal aspects of following Jesus.

But self-righteousness is “sinful pride and a direct attack on Jesus.”  According to Walker, there is no need for Jesus if somehow we can attain righteousness on our own.  Bonhoeffer is candid about the inner struggle that all Christians face:

“When all is said and done, the life of faith is nothing if not an unending struggle of the spirit with every available weapon against the flesh.”

The Christian is a battle and have to fight by God;s grace to pursue Jesus through the spiritual disciplines.  But we do not want to compound the situation when we depend on our strength.

An example of Fallen Thinking…

I will seek the praise of others above all else, and show them how righteously I live.  God may provide for some of my needs, but I don’t trust him to seek him, and I don’t trust him to bring me the praise of others.

An example of Kingdom Thinking…

The disciplines remind me that I must live the rest of my earthly life controlled by God’s will and not by human desires (1 Peter 4:2).

Amen!

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