"You cannot be a half a saint. You must be a whole saint, or no saint at all." -St. Therese of Lisieux
When Jesus was crucified, the soldiers divided his garments, each taking a piece. But his coat was seamless, and rather than divide it, they cast lots to see who would get it. Kind of like having a dollar bill to split among two people. If you rip it in half to divide ("you get half, and you get half--it's the only fair way!"), it becomes worthless. It needs to go to either one or the other.
Ever since watching Francis Chan's sermon on being "Lukewarm and Loving It," I have been thinking about God's all-or-nothing attitude towards how we live. Chan's sermon focuses on what is written in Revelation 3:16: "So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth." When it comes to what God wants from us, it seems, it is all or nothing.
But how often we live in the in-between! The more God reveals himself to me, the more I see this is not a place to live. It seems our attitude is "I'll give God a little, and I'll get a little God. That should suffice." Anything else is seen as extremism.
Jesus, however, makes constant reference to this all-or-nothing attitude, and in a way that says "This is how I want you to live":
Matthew 5:13: "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men."
Luke 9:62: "But Jesus said to him, "No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."
Matthew 13:46: "...and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it."
You're either salty, or you're not.
You're either plowing, or you're not.
You're either buying, or you're not.
You're either a disciple, or you're not.
This last one is the hardest for me, because I want to be a 'sometimes' disciple. I want to follow Jesus, but I also want to go where I want also. I don't want to be anyone's slave, doing what I don't want to be doing. I want to follow Jesus, but I don't necessarily want to die doing it.
One wouldn't call themselves a Marine unless they had been through everything to earn that title. But people call themselves "Christian" all the time without having gone through the dying to self that Christ calls us to--myself included. "Why do you call me Lord and do not do what I say?" Therefore it seems there is a difference between being a Christian and being a disciple. Christians profess Christ. Disciples follow Christ. There is no in between.