Thank you for pulling out such an excellent part of the book. In my research at Oxford University, I’ve become very much interested in the life of Jesus as our human example to follow in discipleship, as well as our saving Lord. I think one of the problems in the Church today is that we haven’t equally emphasised his example as human disciple of God, because it requires quite a lot of us in own lives. It is easier to just receive his free gift of salvation thinking that requires nothing of me… I just say the words, do the things well on the surface and then return to my life as if it were the same again. Dietrich Bonhoeffer who I mention lived a very different life. When Nazi Germany rose to power, he resisted it. He risked his life because he knew what it meant to be a disciple and followed Jesus not just as Saviour from his sins, but also as disciple of God. The cost of our discipleship is high, but the power of grace makes it a very light burden to carry. We gain more than we give up in Jesus. I think as a celibate gay/SSA Christian, both the lesson of obeying from and out of an experience of God’s loving grace AND the cost of my discipleship were vital in bringing me to give myself to the Lord in celibacy. The key to all of this is fearing God, not just loving him. If our love of God isn’t cleansed by our fear of him (awe-inspired respect for God that leads to a proper knowledge of his true nature!) then we turn God into an idol who can never contradict, chastise or discipline us in the ways of righteousness!
What drew me to want God’s will more than my own were two major things 1) the absolute pleasure of knowing God’s presence and love, unfettered by my own flesh or sinfulness 2) learning that when I did God’s will instead of my own, I found myself satisfied. I gave up my boyfriends and other things because they got in the way of knowing the fullness of His Presence - a good which far outweighed anything else I gave up. When I lived by my own will, it didn’t go well but when I lived his way it has only brought me true satisfaction and joy, even if through trials and persecutions!