This is it... we're finally finishing up Chapter 4! At the very end of the chapter, Chan gives a very good example of a perceived expectation and a subsequent (calculated) response:
"When I was in high school, I seriously considered joining the Marines; this was when they first came out with commercials for 'the few, the proud, the Marines.' What turned me off was that in those advertisements, everyone was always running. Always. And I hate running.
"But you know what? I didn't bother to ask if they would modify the rules for me so I could run less, and maybe also do a fewer push-ups. That would've been pointless and stupid, and I knew it. Everyone knows that if you sign up for the Marines, you have to do whatever they tell you. They own you." p. 80.
So, the obvious question here is why does this same logic NOT apply to our faith? Like the Marines, we know what is required of us. However, unlike the Marines, we wrongly assume that giving "just enough" of ourselves is acceptable. Well... I think the answer is as obvious as the question. When it comes to the Marines, there are people constantly present, making sure you stay in line... that you live up to your responsibilities and obligations. Plus, if you can't hack it... you're out! That's not the case with Christianity... thank goodness! Secondly, free will means very little (if anything) in the Marines. But, it means everything in our faith. I've said it before: Free will is a double-edged sword. It's our free will that allows us to each, personally, accept Christ as our Savior... and it's free will that allows us to hang on to those things that inhibit our growth as Christians. We want the luxury of being "saved," but that doesn't necessarily mean that we want to put in the hard work that is required to follow Christ! AND THESE TWO THINGS ARE NOT NECESSARILY MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE!
I think, if we're honest with one another, we would have to question why our rationale for "membership" in our faith (for lack of a better phrase) is not the same as it might be for the Marines. And as I sit here at my computer and really dissect my heart, I would be lying if I didn't admit the truth that resides in the places only known to me and God. I'm resting on the hope that what I'm giving... which is definitely not my best... is good enough! Even as I sit here and type, I am ashamed of the truth I'm living... the excuses I use. Sometimes I've even questioned whether I'm truly following Him, or not. God deserves my best... your best... so why don't we give it to Him?
I know Chapter 4 was difficult for some of you. Having said that, I want to prepare you for Chapter 5. For me, this chapter was much more difficult; however, this is also the chapter that started turning me around, so to speak. Watch the video for Chapter 5. Then spend some time asking God to prepare your heart for what He's about to reveal to you!