You may or may not have read The Barbarian Way: Unleash the Untamed Faith Within by Erwin Raphael McManus. If you have not, let me suggest that you pick up a copy and read it. The book is only 148 pages, so depending on how much time you have and how fast you read, it can be read in a couple of hours in one setting if you so choose.
I like the book because I find it both very prophetic and yet very encouraging. It serves a great purpose if you consider the book (its author) as a conversation partner on what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. It would even serve well as a conversation partner in a small group or bible class discussion.
I especially love the second chapter “The Barbarian Call.” Here are a couple of quotes from this chapter to give you an idea of why I enjoy the book, what I mean when I say the book is both prophetic and encouraging, and why you might consider picking up a copy for yourself.
When speaking about our desire for safety vs. walking with Christ regardless of its perilous outcomes in this world, McManus writes:
We have somehow perverted this more primal understanding [walking with Christ regardless…] to a far more civilized one. Instead of finding confidence to live as we should regardless of our circumstances, we have used it as justification to choose the path of least resistance, least difficulty, least sacrifice. Instead of concluding it is best to be wherever God wants us to be, we have decided that wherever it is best for us to be is where God wants us. Actually, God’s will for us is less about our comfort that it is about contribution. (p. 44)
And just a few pages later, McManus stresses how the call of following Jesus has really been distorted as history progressed forward:
Jesus calls us? Somewhere along the way the movement of Jesus Christ became civilized as Christianity. We created a religion using the name of Jesus Christ and convinced ourselves that God’s optimal desire for our lives was to insulate us in a spiritual bubble where we risk nothing, sacrifice nothing, lose nothing, worry about nothing. Yet Jesus’ death wasn’t to free us from dying, but to free us from the fear of death. Jesus came to liberate us so that we could die up front and then live. Jesus wants to take us to places where only dead men and women can go.
How do we live out the call to follow Jesus? That is not an easy answer. However, I hope we are reminded never to become complacent in our call to be followers of the One who first carried his own cross and then demanded that his followers do the same. “…Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me”(Mk 8.34, TNIV).