Dietrich Bonhoeffer has been widely recognized as one of the great moral heroes of the twentieth century, and rightly so. He was a highly regarded Lutheran minister at a time when other highly regarded Christian leaders’were compromising and making sure they didn’t make any waves against Hitler’s aggressive, tyrammical power. Bonhoeffer was among the few who resisted. And you know, resistance usually has its costs’Bonhoeffer’s cost everything. He was arrested, imprisoned, and eventually hung on April 9, 1945’less than a month before the war’s end.
Yet Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s resistance was more than moral, it was Christian. It was grounded, shaped, and energized by the gospel, and by Bonhoeffer’s loving loyalty to the Lord of that gospel: Jesus Christ.
Amidst the tumultuous times of his day, Bonhoeffer wrote a book that has since become a Christian classic. It’s called The Cost of Discipleship. In it he contrasts what he calls ‘cheap and costly grace.’ Cheap grace, for Bonhoeffer, means grace without the cross. Costly grace, by way of contrast, is a grace that comes to us freely because it cost Christ his life’and that which is costly to God must never be seen as something that comes to us without a price.
Bonhoeffer’s point, men, is that the gospel makes a claim upon every aspect of our lives. It’s received freely, yet demands sacrificial discipleship as our response.
Is your understanding of the gospel comparable to Bonhoeffer’s? If it isn’t, give it some thought.
Yesterday I spoke about Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the difference between what he called ‘cheap and costly grace.’ Unlike Bonhoeffer, most of us probably won’t be called to martyrdom. But all of us are called to lay down our lives as living sacrifices in response to the grace given to us by our living God. All of us, in other words, are called to acknowledge that there’s a cost to Christian discipleship.
- It costs very little to attend church, join a men’s group, or go to a conference for Christian men. But it costs a great deal to come home and remain committed to following Christ when it means loving your family sacrificially.
- It costs very little to avoid pornographic magazines, videos and websites. But it costs much more to submit your mind and eyes to purity on a moment-by-moment basis.
- It costs something to send your children to Christian schools to be taught from a Christian world view. But it costs a lot more to live by example before your children’to shepherd their hearts with wisdom, consistency, strength, and compassion.
- It costs something to insist that your kids dress modestly. But it costs a lot more to help them to think and act modestly — with humility of spirit.
So, Christian man’husband’dad’where do you stand? Are you comfortable? Have you made too much peace with sin? If so, I challenge you to think about the cost of Christian discipleship, and be willing to spend what it takes to be a true disciple.
What’s it mean to do good by your wife? And how might you, as a husband, go about doing it? You might come up with things like laying a new bathroom floor, shoveling the car out after a snow storm, or taking out the garbage on time. These are fine and good, and we like them because they keep us in our comfort zone.
But what about providing your wife with spiritual leadership and stability? Now that’s doing her good’in fact, it’s the best you could do for her. Yet it’s also a scary proposition for many husbands. You might not even know where to start.
Here are five suggestions to set the spiritual thermostat in your house:
1) Develop a knowledge of God’s word. This is a must.
2) As you learn about God, begin to submit yourself to Him more and more.
3) Be consistent in your prayer and devotional life. Your consistency will instill your wife’s confidence in you.
4) Go to church and worship with your wife. Your wife will benefit greatly from watching you worship and worshipping with you.
5) Be quick to forgive and to seek her forgiveness when you need it. Your honesty and humility will speak volumes to her.
Men, you will bless your wife by leading her. If you do it tenderly and wisely, and by example, she’ll follow.