There are more than a few of us, who find it so difficult to repent and surrender our lives to Christ wholeheartedly. We find ourselves saying things like, "I can't get saved yet, because I still want to________." (Fill in the blank with any excuse that you ever made yourself or heard). I am sure there are a variety of answers to fill in this blank, because there are so many excuses that we make. I can speak on this topic in the way that I do, simply because I was actually one of those excuse-makers not too long ago. Yup, that’s me. A “PK” (Preacher's kid); one who grew up learning the word of God, having the ability and knowledge to recite scripture and share when I felt necessary, but a lost soul all at once. The enemy finds ways to distract those of us like myself who are raised in he the faith, because he is just that selfish, and he sees the potential we have in Christ. *This does not exclude those who do not have the same background…God calls all of us! No matter what culture, what country you come from, your background, or color. These distinctions make no difference in the fact that God sees us for our hearts. He sees us from the inside out. Now, I made mention of the enemy and the way he deceives because in spite of all of the word that was put into me as a child, I found myself straying further & further away from the will of God. And whether we grow up in the Christian faith or not, it takes for each individual to actually understand and grow a personal relationship with Christ. He wants our hearts to be right in his sight. I was a “good person” who knew about God, but I did not fully KNOW him for myself. And it took me a while to make the wholehearted decision to actually follow Christ and submit to his will for my life. He continued to pull on my heart, calling me to him while I was doing what I wanted. I let time pass, holding off on surrendering my heart to Christ, because I knew following him meant that I had to turn away from things that I just wasn’t ready to. Yeah, I always believed in him, but following him cost too much. This brings us to this story in the book of Matthew.
In Matthew 8:19-23, there is an expert of the religious law in the midst of the crowd, who was bold enough to tell Jesus that he would follow him wherever he goes. This is someone who, not only knew the law, but also was an expert of it (this detail is specified in the New English Translation). What did Jesus say in response to this? He responded saying, "Foxes have dens and the birds in the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."
**And the record stops spinning! **
So wait, you mean to tell me that Jesus Christ, the one and only begotten Son of God, himself had no place to live???! He wasn’t staying in the finest hotels throughout his travels??? Nope. I am sure when Jesus responded in this way, the teacher probably wished he would have kept his mouth shut. Jesus did not sugarcoat the cost of following him, and this story is in the word of God to serve the same purpose. Through this scripture in addition to many others, we now know that FOLLOWING Christ takes a wholehearted, bold, and definite COMMITMENT. Following Jesus Christ and submitting to his will is not an easy thing. When giving your life to him, it means that-yes, you are making the best decision that you can make while living this life, but also a choice that will cost you more than just a walk up to the front of the church after the preacher calls out to those who would like to be saved. These moments count, but there is more to following Jesus Christ than just that. Whether you are reading this and you have not taken this step, or if you have done so but you feel that you have not taken the step to commit to him God is calling you to become a disciple. There is no excuse that we can make, which makes it okay to not fully commit to him in this way. God created us, so he knows EVERY SINGLE thing about us. He’s fully knowledgeable of the addictions, the sins you have committed, and the hurt that you have experienced in life. On the other hand, he does not expect for any of this to hold us back from being saved, because Jesus cleansed all of that messiness the day he was crucified on that cross. When we use these things as excuses it as if we are telling Christ “Hold on, I will be there as soon as I am finished doing what I want.” Just like this next guy did in Matthew.
In Matthew 8:21-22 it says, ‘Another of his disciples said to him, “Lord, first let me return home and bury my father.”’ And Jesus responded saying, “Follow me now. Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead.” As we can see, Jesus Christ made a direct command: “FOLLOW ME NOW.” This is exactly what happens in our lives. Jesus Christ is calling us to himself daily & consistently. He loves us just that much. And we continue to find this excuse, and that excuse. We say to him, “Tomorrow I will surrender, Lord. Tomorrow I will quit drinking, Lord. Tomorrow I will stop watching porn, Lord.” But tomorrow comes, and you find yourself making that same empty promise, as if you never said this stuff yesterday. And let me make it clear. He isn’t saying to us, “Okay I understand, you only live once and you’re not perfect, so YOLO!” Nor is Jesus saying, “Ohhhh, that makes sense, you want to ‘test the waters’ with a few more people, before you focus on me and actually wait for the one I have for you. That’s totally understandable. You’re young, so do you!” No, Jesus is saying the total opposite! He is saying, “Follow me NOW.” And he also tells us (according to Luke 14:26-27), “If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life.” He was not finished though. He continues by saying, “Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple.” Ofcourse he is not telling us to hate our loved ones; he is not contradicting himself in this scripture. What he’s saying here is, not to make them our #1 priority. He demands that he comes before everyone and everything. Just as Christ did on Earth. He did not say, “Lord, I cannot go through with your plan anymore. There is too much going on here on Earth, so I think I need a few more years on Earth to ‘test the waters’ and then I can do that whole, crucifixion thing.” No, Christ said, “Father, if you be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but yours, be done” (Luke 22:42).
There is no luke-warmness in Jesus’s words regarding discipleship. Jesus is not saying, do what you have to do first and then come follow me. He is telling us to make him our priority. Jesus sees our hearts (what is going on deep, deep within). He clearly sees what we are putting in his place. We cannot say to Jesus “I will follow on one condition…my job comes first.” NOOOO! Christ wants all of us. Not just on Sunday when we go to church, or when it is most convenient for us. He knows the judgment that we will face if we do not make this choice TODAY. And even if we decide not to follow, and we are blessed to see another day- all of the inconsistencies of this sinful world will eventually fail us. Or what if we do not see the tomorrow that we speak of? This is so serious, and we cannot take this lightly anymore. Tomorrow is not promised. The pleasures that we find in this sinful world are temporary and they cause death. Point. Blank. Period. Following him will cost. Your life may be turned upside down, but as a disciple of Christ your focus should be on his will. This is not to put down the blessings we can receive on Earth, but to bring clarity to what it really means to be a disciple of Christ. It’s not as simple as some make it seem. And things are not made easier just because. Christ demands a true commitment from us because he knows what is best for us, but do we trust him that much to follow?
Let’s pray: Lord, we come to you today to thank you for your compassion. We thank you for calling us to follow you. We thank you for your grace and mercy, and for your forgiveness. Lord, we ask whatever it may be that is holding us back from following you that either you take it away or that you strengthen us to turn away from it. Lord, you know the depths of our hearts and you still love us the same. Thank you. You fully understand that we are nothing but dust of this Earth, and you have called us even as sinners. Lord, we thank you for loving us just that much to fill us with your Holy Spirit, which helps us turn away from our old sinful ways and to follow you. When we do stumble Lord, thank you for being there to catch us. We pray that whatever strongholds the enemy has placed on our lives become broken, any generational curses become destroyed, and any distractions that the enemy throws our way go void. Lord, we pray that we trust in you and continue to follow your will for our lives, and that we do not look back. In Jesus Name. Amen <3
Love you with the love of Jesus.
Guest Blogger for March: Casalea