Originally published Friday, 05 December 2014.
Jesus came that we might have life. And life to the full. He came to bind up the brokenhearted. To bring good news to the poor. To proclaim liberty to the captives. To provide for our every need. To love us. To care for us. To provide a home for our wondering heart.
He calls to the people. "Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand" (Matthew 4:17).
"Come, follow Me," He says (Matthew 19:21).
"Learn from Me...and you will find rest for your souls" (Matthew 11:29).
Promising to guide us into His will for our lives, He beckons us to follow.
We're called to be disciples. Followers of Christ––the living God––but discipleship comes at a cost.
All that stuff I wrote above is pleasant to the ear. We like hearing the truth of God's promise to love and care for us. To restore us to wholeness and healing. These truths tickle our ears, as Scripture says (2 Timothy 4:1-5). But there's more to the story than this. There's duality to following Jesus. When we follow Christ, we most certainly reap bountiful blessings––blessings we cannot even begin to imagine––but following Christ requires us to live for Christ. To die to ourselves so that we may experience true life in Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Discipleship demands all of us. It requires that we lay ourselves down––all our desires, all our hope and dreams––for the cause of Christ. It requires humility and a resolved determination to say yes to whatever God calls us to do, regardless of our own desires.
Jesus beckons, "Come, follow Me," but for some reason, the typical American Christian believes Christianity is a means to a life of ease. A life of convenience. As if coming to Jesus will assure them full health, wealth, and prosperity––fulfilling the American Dream. Many believe Jesus will grant their every desire, quoting Matthew 7:7, which says, "Ask, and it will be given to you..." But James 4:3 says, "You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions." The promise given in Matthew 7:7 is only fulfilled when we have the heart and mind of Christ. When we're walking surrendered to His will.
Jesus is not a genie in a bottle who will grant our every wish. He is God. When we follow Him, He requires us to do it His way.
But when we follow Christ––when we say yes to God's will over our own––when we chose to pay the cost of discipleship, we will most assuredly have LIFE. The best life. And so, yes, there is a cost to discipleship. But like, author, Bob Goff says, we're always trading up. We give up the things we want so desperately to hold on to, and in return we receive something infinately greater, without fail. And what appears to be sacrifice is actually no sacrifice at all––it's simply trading what I thought was best for what is truly best.
When we give up our desires in exchange for God's, we experience true joy.
Jesus came to turn this world on it's head.
The first is the last.
The greatest is the least.
The rich are the poor.
Strength is found in weakness.
Life is found in death.
God's ways are not our own. But His ways are greater than anything we can conceive. His ways lead to life.
Any thoughts? Share in the comments.