Summary: God does not expect His followers to be perfect. Otherwise He would not have chosen the 12 disciples that He did. They were not perfect, but they were willing to follow, and learn. Are we willing to follow Christ completely?

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Counting the Cost – Part 2

January 19, 2003

Here are some actual maintenance complaints submitted by US Air Force pilots and the replies from the maintenance crews:

Problem: Left inside main tire almost needs replaced.

Solution: Almost replaced left inside main tire.

Problem: Something loose in cockpit.

Solution: Something tightened in cockpit.

Problem: Evidence of hydraulic leak on right main landing gear.

Solution: Evidence removed.

Problem: Number three engine missing.

Solution: Engine found on right wing after brief search.

Where there is lack of clarity there is always confusion and the potential for misunderstanding. Last week as we looked at the story of the rich young man coming to Jesus seeking eternal life, we saw that there was no room for confusion as to what Jesus was seeking. There could be no mistaking Jesus’ call to Him.

In the story we saw that Jesus does not have levels of followers. He doesn’t have the dedicated and the recreational and the occasional. He only has one bar that he calls us all to jump. That bar is complete devotion to him that shows in obedience to whatever He asks.

You may feel like you will never get there. You might feel like just giving up.

If you have felt that to some degree this week than you have probably grasped some of the significance of what Jesus is asking. It’s a big call. Jesus calls us to a life of surrender and devotion – a life of submission to him. We can never shake the truth of that. That is where true life is found.

And yet the reality is that we can’t do it. Let’s just admit it. That’s the truth – we can’t do it – we can never fully be the people Jesus calls us to be – not while there is sin in our lives – not while there is a hint of self centeredness. So we live in this place between what He calls us to and what really is. It’s uncomfortable.

1. You may feel guilty because you aren’t good enough. You may feel like you will never make it and you are always disappointing God. You may beat yourself up because you feel like such a lousy disciple.

2. Or you can try harder – you can busy yourself and work harder and harder to try and be the person God calls you to be and in the end you might even feel like you have made some progress. In fact you might even feel quite proud of the progress you have made compared to some of those other people who just don’t even seem to care. Losers! Oops, is that my pride showing?

3. Or you might just want to quit. You might just give up altogether because it’s too hard. You might feel like there are just too many things to do and you can’t do it. Or too many things that you aren’t supposed to do, but you keep doing. You keep on sinning and can’t live with the continual failure so you quit.

Sometimes it seems as though it’s impossible to be a genuine disciple of Jesus Christ…to follow Him exclusively, love Him above all others, and serve Him devotedly.

It raises questions like:

1. If we can never get to where Jesus calls us to be why does He bother to have us start?

2. Why does He make it so unattainable? Surely He knows what we’re like.

3. Is this just a game He is playing with us?

4. Does He enjoy seeing us fail?

5. Is discipleship only for the elite? Is there a special kind of person who qualifies as a disciple of Jesus Christ and I might not be one of them?

Today, let’s look at the other side of the coin. The side that gives ordinary people like you and me a bit of hope. If we look at the 12 guys that Jesus chose as His own disciples we find great hope. It puts us back in the game in a big way. Because these were not elite people – they were not superchristians. They were people just like us.

Do you remember picking teams at school – some were the ones you wanted and others were left to last. Even now, we would still choose the best to be on our team.

When Jesus was picking his team of 12 guys, He could have picked the best. If He had approached the prominent business leaders of the time, or the political leaders and if He had presented His case right He probably could have got them on board. He could have influenced society through it’s key leaders – which to us might seem sensible. But it seems He didn’t go chasing those guys.

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