Obedience and Faith
Obedience and Faith
[This thought is influenced from reading an essay by Karl Barth called, "The Call to Discipleship."]
Some teachers in history have taken these crossroad experiences and explained the stumbling away. They allude to the illusory potential that a person can be a follower of Jesus without needing to follow. It’s been said that, “That was only for that one person to hear,” or “Jesus doesn’t mind the outward form so much as that your heart was in the right place.”
The latter is synonymous with, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
It seems to me, then, that if this call of Jesus is true grace – it being a call to be his own – then what we need is a continual call toward repentance, toward showing that, upon the crossroads choice, we are not living into the full identity, the full gift of being Christ’s own. We’re holding something back.
So, dear pastors and teachers, please don’t shy away from reminding me that Christ calls me to be his own, and that this call he makes is, “Come and follow.” Remind me, and all of us, that we didn’t choose Jesus or choose our own path of being a disciple, but rather that Jesus in profound love has chosen us and continues to say, “Come and follow.” (This calling is in and of itself the unexpected gift.”)
And, when the day comes, when the call of Jesus, read in the Gospels, to live by grace through faith (remembering that faith always acts out what it believes), comes and we do not follow, then please remind us that it was by grace that we heard the call to begin with and that Jesus’ desire is for us to be fully his own. We don’t want to resist being fully his as he calls us and claims us to be. Our desire, as grace continually calls us, is toward faithful living.
When we stumble, call us toward Jesus’ call.
When we say no, call us toward Jesus’ call.
When we are simply ignorant of Jesus’ call, call us with the Gospel narrative toward Jesus’ call.
Please, call us toward a completely and fully alive existence, a life lived by grace through faith.
“…the call to discipleship is the particular form of the summons by which Jesus discloses and reveals himself to individuals in order to claim and sanctify them as his own, and as his witness in the world. It has the form of a command of Jesus directed to them. It means the coming of grace, for what is disclosed and revealed in Jesus is the reconciliation of the world with God and his reconciliation and therefore the fullness of salvation. But as it encounters them in this summons, grace has the form of command, the Gospel the form of the Law. The grace that comes to them requires that they could do something, i.e., follow Jesus. It is thus a grace that commands. Jesus is seeking people to serve him.” _The Call to Discipleship_, Karl Barth, p.7