In a recent interview at the leadership conference Catalyst, Mark Driscoll said, “No prophet ever woke up and tweeted ‘another easy day for me.'” Regardless of what one might think about Driscoll, he gets something right here.
What he gets right is that when it comes to the Gospel, calling and ease generally don’t go together immediately. This runs counter to how we are trained to think. In our culture of comfort, we tend to conflate the two. We believe that people should only do things that bring them great joy or what they are passionate about; “follow your heart” is a more common phrase than “obey and do the hard work.” Infected by such thinking, we can begin to think that being and doing who and what we are called to ought to be easy.
Yet, the call of the gospel is a fundamentally uncomfortable one. Leaving behind our claims to our lives, possessions, relationships, in order to follow Jesus is not the most “natural” transition. If we’re honest, the type of demands that Jesus makes of us wouldn’t help him go viral on YouTube.
He confronts us, the deepest parts of us, demanding our utmost allegiance. Maybe I’m alone in my feelings, but I don’t always find it easy to respond to this call. Many days, I am more inclined to recline with an episode of Seinfeld than I am to spend that same twenty minutes in prayer.
Fortunately, however, we know that this is not the whole story. Christianity is not another muster-your-willpower religion. We know that we have the Holy Spirit who is at work in us, conforming us to the image of the Son. The calling of the gospel never changes, but we do, miraculously becoming the type of people who delight in responding to that call, to giving our lives to Christ.
Surely, this is grace: God does not leave us to struggle with his claim upon us, but by working in our working, brings us to joy. Our specific vocations will look different – we may love them, we may hate them depending on the Lord’s purposes in our lives during that season. But what we are promised is that for those of us who strive after Jesus, the Spirit will be at work easing our burdens, giving us a new yoke, and making our fundamental calling a thing of joy.