Monday, December 3, 2018

Are Your Really Willing To Lay Your Life Down

(Luke 19:23) “Then he [Jesus] said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 

(Luke 14:26,27)  “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”

This past Sunday the pastor of the church we attend in Texas said that his faith is much more than being associated with a denomination – he is a Christ follower.  Do you consider yourself a “Christ follower”?  A follower in the sense that Jesus laid out in the verses I quoted?  Are you really willing to deny yourself – your cultural conventions – the traditions of your fathers – the things that seem right and not to do them would be wrong?  

Martie and I are travelling that path.  What brought this thinking on was the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.  We plan to spend both with family – but … that is for two weeks out of the year.  The rest of the time we are in Texas serving other people.  People we don’t even know.  I am not looking for praise and admiration for what we do.  My hope is that you will see beyond family separation to be separated in your devotion from the things of this world and desire more what God has said is better.

What we do is not something that God calls everyone to do.  Some have criticized us for leaving our family.  That’s OK. Although other opinions of Christians are helpful in discerning the voice of God – their opinions are not the only factor – the Word – Prayer and Circumstances are also part of the equation. Ultimately – each of us is responsible to God for our choices and actions.  We rest in God’s sovereignty and confidence that when we follow – difficult as it may be – we are on the right path – nad He has noting but the best in mind for us.

You may not think about this much in terms of your own life.  You may not be asked to do what we do.  To lay down what we have laid down in order to serve Him where He sends us.  He may not send you anywhere – but expects you to be salt and light right where you are.  

A final thought. A sacrifice is not a sacrifice if it doesn’t cost you something.  If you give out of your excess – what is that? No, it must cost you.  That is where many Christians falter – it might be a relationship – a job – a hobby – past-time – lifestyle – a treasure - whatever – it is something that you value and would prefer to keep, but the Lord says – lay it down at the foot of the Cross.  Are you willing? You already know what it is. CHARLEY 

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