I had a disturbing thought recently: We are destined to lose. I’ve read the Bible and I know how this war ends. God wins. We win. But this battle we fight today? We are destined to lose. God’s will for our lives is we continue the mission of Jesus. We are to bring the Kingdom of God down to earth. It is our job to model the love of Jesus and proclaim the incredible truth of God’s character to every person we encounter.

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Unfortunately, the Bible makes it clear things will get worse before they get better. We live in dark, evil times. Many think these are the last days. We are not to the first to think this way; most generations before us believed the same for their own lifetime. The fact is, until Jesus returns, we are fighting what at least appears to be a losing battle.

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One of the reasons I believe we don’t take the call of Christ more seriously in our lives is because we don’t see our sin the way God does. We don’t tend to see ourselves as deserving of hell if not for the blood of Jesus. We might say we deserve hell, but do we honestly believe it? As A.W. Tozer wrote, “from the way we love, praise, and pamper ourselves it is plain enough that we do not consider ourselves worthy of damnation!”

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There’s a disconnect between what we say we believe and how we live. Instead of living as if we were humbly and eternally grateful for the salvation of Christ, we instead live as if there’s always something more we “deserve”.

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In “Counter Culture”, David Platt writes, “When we observe our churches today, do they look like groups of people who gather with one another as they give their lives to spreading the gospel among unreached people, impoverished communities, abandoned orphans, lonely widows, dying babies, sex slaves, and suffering brothers and sisters around the world?” His conclusion is the same as my own: we do not.

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His question comes straight from the Bible (Matthew 25:31-41; James 1:27; Isaiah 58:6), and reflects God’s will for each of our lives. It’s sad enough most of us are not dedicating our own lives to this, but absolutely tragic we as a body of believers are not marshalling our forces to combat these evils in the world.

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Many of us, myself included, have a tendency to overcomplicate things. In our quest to live our lives wholly devoted to Christ, we can over encumber ourselves with rules and promises intended to make us look like Jesus but in reality do little more than frustrate us. The way to ensure we are living as Christ designed us to live can be boiled down to one simple question: “Did I do my best to serve Jesus today?”

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I think it’s a valuable question to ask before we close our eyes each night. Being aware we will answer that question each night should profoundly influence the way we live our lives throughout the day.

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There is an old song by the band “Degarmo and Key” called “Casual Christian”. The beginning of the song says, “I don’t want to be a casual Christian / I don’t want to lead a lukewarm life / ‘Cause I want to light up the night / With an everlasting light / I don’t want to lead a casual Christian life.” Though the song is over twenty-five years old, the lyrics still regularly play in my mind. Put simply, this is the call of my life, and I believe it is the call for every disciple of Jesus.

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Casual Christianity is mediocre Christianity. It is lukewarm Christianity. It is nothing more than religious busyness, and it very literally makes God sick (Revelation 3:16).

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Nothing kills momentum and mission quicker than indecision. When Jesus calls you to do something, do it right away. How many times have you felt led to help someone, donate some money, or simply say a kind word but hesitated? And then the moment was lost. Indecision kills. What could have been a beautiful moment is now gone forever. You never noticed Jesus bothered with indecision.

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He knew His purpose, He knew His mission, and He let nothing interfere with them. The life of Jesus was a perfect model of consistency. Consistency is the antidote for indecision. When our default and constant reaction to any nudge of the spirit is to act, we will cut indecision off at the knees.

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Clement of Alexandria wrote, “Many will never reach the Kingdom of Heaven for they have fixed their eyes on wealth. They are sick for the things of the world. They live proudly through luxury. But those who are serious about salvation must settle this beforehand in their mind. All we possess is given to us to use for sufficiency, which one may acquire by merely a few things.” For those of us in the West, this should be especially convicting. We live proudly in our luxury.

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We take more for granted than half the world can even imagine possessing. All this extravagance will count for nothing when we stand before God and give an account of our lives. He will ask what we did with what He entrusted to us, and we will only be able to hang our heads and admit we hoarded it for ourselves (Luke 12:16-21).

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Every now and then I read something that at once inspires me while also feeling like being punched in the gut. In his book, “Counter Culture”, David Platt writes, “I don’t want to waste the opportunities God has given me to live out the gospel by which God has saved me in the culture where God has placed me.” Let that sink in for a moment.

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It’s a great mantra by which to live our lives. It’s also a convicting scale we can use to weigh any decision with which we are faced. Are we doing all we can to serve and love others in the context in which we’ve been placed? If not, why not?

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One of the biggest stumbling blocks to living a life wholly devoted to Jesus is when you get tired and begin asking, “What about me?” I’ve met many professing Christians who pledge their devotion to Jesus but never seemed to have let go of pursuing their own dreams and desires. After serving on a mission trip, they need to take a little time off “just for themselves”.

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They’re okay to work really hard for Jesus during the day, but the nights are theirs to relax on the couch or out with friends. The problem of course is when you gave your life to Jesus, you surrendered everything to Him at that moment. There are no loopholes in the life of a disciple.

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Sometimes I wish things weren’t so black and white. Take the title of this blog for instance. Will you choose the cross or comfort? Surely there’s an option ‘C’, right? We want the cross but we’d really rather have our share of comfort in this world as well. After all, what good is God if He can’t cut us a break every now and then? Of course we’d never say something like that out loud, but most of us aren’t shy about living as if that’s how we feel. But the way I read the Bible, there is no option ‘C’.

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There is no gray area in which we can revel. Jesus was pretty clear in His statements. We must choose the cross or comfort. We can’t have it both ways, and living in the middle is the same as rejecting Him (Revelation 3:16).

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