Thursday, February 6, 2020

Wanting To Follow Is Not The Same As Willing To Follow

Now it happened as they journeyed on the road, that someone said to Him, ‘Lord, I will follow You wherever You go. ‘And Jesus said to him, ‘Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.’ Then He said to another, ‘Follow Me.’ But he said, ‘Lord, let me first go and bury my father.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.’ And another also said, ‘Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.’ But Jesus said to him, ‘No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.’”  – Luke 9:57-62


What you say to God when He speaks to you and calls you to walk with Him will always, always challenges your sensibilities.  A crisis of belief, if you will. For many of us who call Jesus, Lord, our perspective on our new life is “Laissez les bons temps rouler” (pronounced : Lay-say le bon tom roo-lay) Let the good times roll.  But the truth is that when God calls you to follow, you will be challenged to abandon what you thought was good and right and comfortable and responsible to join Him in what might seem impossible. Something that requires faith and trust and obedience. Self-denial. Abandonment of things you might be devoted to and perhaps define you. All of them deeply rooted in your natural life.

Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.’” – Matthew 16:24-25

God does not hide that truth from us, so why are we so surprised when it happens to us? God does not do the natural, He does the supernatural. We can only do the supernatural by the power of the Spirit in us.  

When we returned from Haiti, I was asked if I would consider working with the Air Force again as a systems engineer.  I call it making tents.  Something to do and something that sustains us while we wait for our next “assignment” from the Lord.  I agreed, but told the people that interviewed me that one day, I might meet with them and tell them that I was leaving, that God had called us out once again.  I worked as an engineer for two years and then it happened.  Someone in the Sunday School class I was teaching asked, “When are the Elgins going to Texas?” Hurricane Harvey had just wreaked havoc in Southeast Texas.  My response, “We aren’t, we don’t chase storms, we follow God.” That seemed spiritual at the time.  I was impressed. So, do you remember Reality number 4? That next week, Martie and I were sitting in the cell phone lot at the Atlanta airport, waiting for our son to arrive for a visit.  I was wondering why they don’t put port-o-potties in the parking lot, when Martie said, “I think the Lord wants us to go to Texas.” Boom! Where did that come from?

We were comfortable – doing good things – still working with pastors in Haiti – helping out family. But, when Martie tells me that she thinks we are supposed to go do something that means we must lay all of that down – I pay attention.  So I called our Board president, then and there.  I told her that we thought the Lord was sending us to Texas. Her response, “I was wondering when you were going there?” Then she said, “I was just talking to a pastor friend from Pasadena, Texas and he said he needs help. Give him a call.” Soon after we visited Pasadena and then I went to see my boss to tell him the good news. We were leaving for Texas. We have just entered our third year in Texas.  Martie left a very nice home to live in a travel trailer sitting in a church parking lot at the approach end of an airport runway. 

So, I repeat myself again from the previous day’s devotion. Has God ever spoken to you? Perhaps you think not, but perhaps He has but you were not listening or not believing it was God. Or maybe it required that you lay down more than you were willing to lay down.  God spoke to us through prayer, other Believers and circumstances.  Dr. Blackaby said that the problem is not really in knowing it is God, the problem is obeying what He says to you.  God will never ask you to do something that you can do on your own. His call to you will always bring you to a crisis of belief.  Of trust. It will test the “true” devotion of your heart. You may not have to quit your job or live in a trailer or leave your family and friends behind. But, no matter what it is – how small it may seem – it will require faith in the One who is calling.

Tomorrow - Reality Six.

To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.” – Jude 24-25

By Faith Alone By His Grace Alone And For His Glory Alone

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