There is a characteristic of the internet where people anonymously tell of their deepest struggles. For example, I saw one which said they were fired from their job because they were considered suicidal after they had called the suicide hotline. Just think about the issues involved in that!
Then I read someone's anonymous admission about their struggle with Christianity, and they said "I don't think the Christian way is for me"
Pause. Consider that statement.
There are two ways to think about it. One reaction is that this is like saying I don't like gravity, or that I think the rules of the road are not for me, or that I'm not really interested in paying my taxes this year. You can freely take that position, but whether you like it or not the choices means damaging consequences are waiting in your future.
But still some people say the Christian way is not for them. They obviously see it differently to me. Why, how? This is a challenge for ME to understand.
The way is hard
1. Jesus asks for a choice. To the rich young ruler he gave one invitation, and the man turned away sad because he decided the way was not for him. To the disciples he said once "follow me", and they followed. The way is hard because we carry the responsibility for the choice. We choose, we bear the consequence, and the opportunities are fleeting. That's hard.
2. Freedom is gone. With choice I always lose something, and choosing God means I lose my independence. My freedom is paramount, I don't want to lose that. That's hard.
3. Commitment. The way is not a moment, it's a journey and the ultimate promise is only at the end. If I choose now and fall by the wayside further along, I have gained nothing, and lost much. That is hard.
4. Its about rules and requirements ... too many, and they're too hard for me.
5. It requires me to say "not my will but thine", but I want to say "not thy will but mine". I know what I want from this partnership, if I don't have that guarantee, the way is hard.
This way is not for me.
The way is easy
1. Jesus asks for a choice. This is great ... instead of trying to work out the complexity of what life is about, Jesus says "This is it ... do you want it?" Finally, clarity in a world of confusion. And it's attractive ... a friend for life, a confident, a counsellor, a teacher, a strength. Why would I not choose this? And he doesn't impose, he gives ME the choice. This is easy.
2. Freedom is found. How I long for the parameters of life. All around me I am presented with competing prescriptions of how to live ... endless contradictions that paralyse me. In Jesus I have freedom to be.
3. Commitment. Here is someone who will never leave me nor forsake me. One who commits to ME! How incredible, and so I KNOW that when the going is tough, he will be there. That's something I'll commit to.
4. Its all about relationship ... I want to do the things that please him ... that's easy.
5. It requires me to say "not my will but thine", but I want to say "not thy will but mine". When my will is so weak and variable, and when his is so good for me, the choice is easy.
Why would this not be for me?
The question is not whether the way is hard or easy, the question is whether I will chose to be the one to define my wants, or will I surrender all to receive Joy and Freedom.
The way is not hard. The real battle is the choice to surrender.