Devotional Classics, by Richard Foster
Excerpt from The Spirit of the Disciplines
Dallas Willard (1935 - 2013) Dallas Willard was born in Buffalo, Missouri and grew up in comparatively poor surroundings. Dallas' chosen field of studies was philosophy and he taught at the University of Wisconsin and the University of Southern California. Dr. Willard is a distinguished philosopher with over thirty publications and a man of deep faith and Christian conviction.
The Cost of Non-discipleship
In 1937 Dietrich Bonhoeffer gave the world his book The Cost of Discipleship. It was a masterful attack on "easy Christianity" or "cheap grace," but it did not setaside--perhaps it even enforced the view of discipleship as a costly spiritual excess, and only for those especially driven or called to it. It was right to point out that one cannot be a disciple of Christ without forfeiting things normally sought in human life, and that one who pays little in the world's coinage to bear his name has reason to wonder where he or she stands with God. But the cost of nondiscipleship is far greater--even when this life alone is considered--than the price paid to walk with Jesus. Nondiscipleship costs abiding peace, a life penetrated throughout by love, faith that sees everything in the light of God's overriding governance for good, hopefulness that stands firm in the most discouraging of circumstances, power to do what is right and withstand the forces of evil. In short, it costs exactly that abundance of life Jesus said he came to bring (John 10:10). The cross-shaped yoke of Christ is after all an instrument of liberation and power to those who live in it with him and learn the meekness and lowliness of heart that brings rest to the soul...The correct perspective is to see following Christ not only as the necessity it is, but as the fulfillment of the highest human possibilities and as life on the highest plane.
In tandem with the sermon this past weekend, the vision of VGF and this excerpt, there is a cost to following Christ with all our soul, with all our heart and with all our mind. There is a cost to NOT following Christ as well, and often for Christians, we are weak on remembering that concept. The mind, one of the hardest places to surrender to the Lord is the place for me to land this Monday Thoughts. I have shared before and felt the need to reiterate this concept of renewing your mind each minute of each day. It sounds like such a process to do such, but in reality there is nothing more peaceful than learning how to take thoughts captive. I am by no means a professional "thought captivator" but surely I follow this practice each and every day.
Several years ago Pastor John preached a message on redeeming the thoughts of your fantasy life. At first I did not comprehend the full value of the message as I really did not think that I had a "bad" fantasy life. After all, it's not like I thought about another man in my life or that I wished I belonged to another physical body or in a different relationship...I never did make up or watch fantasy scenarios that would give me urges to act inappropriately toward some other human...but! I did and still have problem with worry or fear concerning friends and family with sickness, traffic accidents and/or ghastly movie things happening to those I love.
So indeed over the years since I hearing that original sermon, I have had to repent and learn what it means to take every thought captive. Don't you know...right in the middle of praise or counseling with someone, I will have the most horrid thoughts cross my brain. Go figure! When there is bad weather approaching or if I haven't heard from my children and I am unsure where my "peeps" are or if they are safe...my mind can wander into the darkest of places. At times, during a church service and I've been concerned with a deep issue during the week in another person's life, my mind will fall into a deep place of despair and I can question God's full intentions in that persons life. This may be too much information for you, but it is a true struggle and so I wish to share with you how the Lord deals with me, maybe there is a nugget that could help you.
The first thing I had to do was rid my life of crime shows that deal with the horrific dealings of the dark world because don't you know, that's exactly where my mind would go when there was a delay in confirmation phone calls from my girls. Movies as well...though they were not necessarily on the repertoire of regular viewing...and I would suggest that if crime books are in your list, that those be removed so that the images are not able to take shape. The next thing that I do is quickly pray for forgiveness for that straying moment of the mind and recite my "go to" verses, Proverbs 3:5 and 6.
If you do not have "go to" verse/verse...please, please get one! Reciting Scripture in a dark mind place is weapon number one! A daily process is to understand Romans 12:2, "And do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, which is good and acceptable and perfect." I know beyond doubt that God's will for me is not to worry, fear the unknown or wish to revenge for hurting souls...I know through a relationship with Christ that His will is for me to give over to Him every thought, every word, every deed and walk not in fear, but of a sound mind which brings peace to my whole being.
"The correct perspective is to see following Christ not only as the necessity it is, but as the fulfillment of the highest human possibilities and as life on the highest plane."