“Change is not made without inconvenience, even from worse to better.”
–Richard Hooker, 16th century theologian
Human beings have quite the disdain for inconvenience. We abhor the traffic congestion in the city. We’re annoyed at long lines at the supermarket. We’re easily irritated at slow internet speeds. (How quickly we’ve forgotten what the internet was like decades ago. Dial up. Enough said.) So it’s no surprise that we approach discipleship with a similar distaste for inconvenience.
We’ll do things God’s way when it’s convenient.
We’ll serve at the homeless shelter when it’s convenient.
We’ll mentor another believer when it’s convenient.
We’ll give to kingdom causes when it’s convenient.
We’ll tell people about Jesus when it’s convenient.
We’ll volunteer at church when it’s convenient.
Have we truly succumbed to a convenient form of discipleship—a convenient way of following Christ? Well, here’s a newsflash for many of us: discipleship is naturally inconvenient. Following Jesus is difficult and the sooner we embrace this idea, the better prepared we’ll be to follow Jesus anywhere, anytime, and anyhow. Christ actually expects us, His followers, to embrace the ideas of selflessness, sacrifice, self-denial, hardship, and persecution. But the truth is, these are exactly the kind of things that we try to stay away from because they tend to make our lives uncomfortable and inconvenient. Jesus was clear when He said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23, ESV). Jesus expects us to embrace a life that may turn out to be quite inconvenient in many ways.
If we truly desire to follow Jesus with the entirety of our lives, we’re going to have to learn to embrace inconvenience. It will be inconvenient to love God completely and follow His ways, values, and desires. It will be inconvenient to serve at a high need neighborhood. It will be inconvenient to set aside time each week to meet and mentor others. It will be inconvenient to sacrifice personal dreams and ambitions in favor of the things of God. Constant inconvenience is simply a part of discipleship and we ought to get used to it.
Despite the difficulty in following Jesus, I want you to know that you can always trust in the power of the Holy Spirit to see you through. The Spirit enables us to live for Christ in a sacrificial manner so that we can follow Jesus no matter how inconvenient it will be.
As you go deeper in your discipleship, what are some inconveniences that God is asking you to embrace?