“Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” -Jesus (Matt 10:39)
This verse above follows some of the hardest verses when asked about discipleship. In these set of verses Jesus uses the illustration that a true follower of Christ puts everything behind himself except Jesus. Your family, your friends, your loves, your desires, your dreams and your goals, all are secondary to Him. Jesus commands nothing but the ultimate. He demands we pledge Him everything. Then after we give everything, He asks us to take up our cross and follow. The cross we bear are things we may not want to do, but for His Kingdom’s sake, we do it. We do it with out complaint, with out sorrow, without a nagging attitude, we do it with our whole heart and mind in it. Though this seems tough, and though it does not seem fair, Jesus gives us a glimmer of hope, that if we loose our life for Him, we will find it.
Working for a church I always hear about how much someone is 100% in for God, then the next thing I see is that the person no longer wants to do anything with God. Usually it takes some sort of medical emergency, or a sudden change in lifestyle, or a major catastrophic event in someone’s for them to reconsider following God. Who can blame people, following God is extremely difficult. Jesus demands a lot and sometimes He doesn’t tell you where He’s going. Faith, trust, hope, and everything must rest in Him. I’m not going to lie, I, at many times in my life was not 100% in. It’s hard giving up your dreams, it’s hard giving up your desires, it’s not easy to go against the grain in your family. It’s NOT EASY being a Christian. I was talking to a friend a while back, and I asked him, “If God wanted you to give up your house and job to go on a mission to Asia, would you do it?” I asked another friend, “If God asked you to marry this guy that you don’t like, would you do it?” Their answers went something along the line of, “Well, God would not ask me to do that because He knows me and He knows it would be bad for me... So, He wouldn’t ask me to do that.” I persisted on the idea that God may ask you to do crazy things. Both friends walked away with from our conversation insisting that God would never do that. The kicker to this story is that driving home, God turned the question on me, “Would I do...... if God asked?” I sat there in my car for a few hours debating the topic. Jesus demands my everything, nothing more nothing less. I’m sitting here writing this and cleaning my heart and doing a self check of what God is asking of me.
Oh Lord what a heart check tonight. I know you want everything. But it’s just so hard. Help me let go.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
“Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” 2 Cor. 7:10
I like this, it’s the politically correct way of saying, YOU SUCKED! YOU WERE TERRIBLE, YOU WERE LOSERS. I like it. Paul here explains that sometimes it is good to make people sad, not in an evil malicious way, but if done in a caring, Godly, and holy way, God brings you to sorrow it is good! I mean it is good. Prior to this in his previous letter to the Corinthians, Paul at some points of his letters basically tells them “hey you are doing terrible. You guys are not following, you are bickering, you guys suck!” But int his case, it swings the Corinthians to action. They become more keen to the areas that God needs them to be sharp in. Since they were offended and hurt they were able to have their eyes open. They were able to see what is good and what is not so good. They were able to see where they thought there were righteous, but were so wrong to begin with. It doesn’t feel good at all. But as the old adage goes, “No pain, no gain.”
I was taking this acting class from this one teacher, and God bless his soul, but for the life of me I got so tired of him telling me how good I was. I was really sick of it. It was nice and all but really I was sick of it. I really got sick of him telling me all the good things I did right, I got sick of him telling me that it was a great performance, etc... etc. But what I noticed was that he was doing that with EVERYONE! It was so junk. I got tired of it. I went to another teacher and this teacher was awesome, he showered in praise, but then again he picked my acting apart told me I sucked in certain areas. He also said that if you want to be really good, you better pay more attention to this or that. THANK GOD for people like that. The brute honesty brought about a better overall growth. This verse reminds me that if I am brought to sorrow because of Godly rebuke or correction, and I feel sad or hurt. THANK GOD. Maybe I needed the kick in the..... Now it is up to me if I am going to move to action or not.
Lord thank you for this. Are there areas where I need improvement? Tell me if there is. Even if I get hurt, it’s cool.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
“But by the grace of God I am what I am , and His grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary , I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but God’s grace with me.” 1 Cor. 15:10
Paul here in one sentence shows us how to work with God in our lives. Yes work with God, not God work for us. Paul also talks about how grace is good, but he shows us that though you may be saved by grace, and God may be moving in your life, it is important that you just don’t let His grace sit there. While you are saved by His grace but that you are moved to action, and moved to take His grace and impact the world around you. God’s grace isn’t supposed to be just a one time thing but a starting point for your life to move.
Paul’s lesson here is quite unique. I am quite frequently a Christian of stillness. I sit rather than move. I am a slouch. I rest in the past and not moved to move. But here Paul refreshes me and says that God’s grace should move us, it should compel us, it should be at the core of our being an ignition to do. God saved us for a purpose, and now we must respond to His grace. What things am I supposed to be striving for. Who or where does God want me next. What are some of the adventures God wants to take me on. By my static movement, am I missing out on something amazing?
Lord my actions may not always reflect my appreciation of your grace, but Lord this reminder was exactly what I needed. Today I want it to be a day of action. A day of explosion, a day of starting, a day of movement.