Wednesday, February 19, 2020
As for You, You Follow Me
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.” Matthew 16:24
We can take God's presence for granted. We can assume that because Jesus said He would be with us always, He will follow us wherever we go (Matt. 28:20). Jesus does not follow us; we are to follow Him. You do not invite God to join you in your activity. He invites you to become involved in His activity. Jesus said: “You did not choose Me, but I chose you” (John 15:16). Following Jesus requires absolute obedience. He does not seek our counsel about which direction we think is suitable. God already knows what is best without ever having to consult with us. Following Jesus will lead you into experiences you never dreamed of! You will be with Jesus as He weeps over those trapped in sin. You will feel the pain that Jesus feels. You will see those who were spiritually blind experience the joy of coming to see God for the first time. You will see lives that were broken, made whole. You will see marriages restored; those in bondage, released; and those who mourn, comforted. At times it will be easy to follow Jesus. At other times, you will be tempted to abandon Him. Following Jesus can mean going through a storm or standing on a mountaintop. You may have stopped following Jesus, but now you want to follow again. When you stopped following Jesus, you did so on your terms. But the returning to Jesus is strictly under His conditions. He is God, and you are not. Are you willing to follow Jesus anywhere, at any time, under any condition? That is the only way you can follow Him. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day
There's some parts in today's devotional that I was compelled to highlight. Way too often some verses get lost in the thousands we read. That verse is so small yet so powerful. "I chose you."
Think about that. Trillions of people who have lived, yet, in this time, this here and now, He chose you.
When we look at this great ball spinning around the sun, from space not a single person can be seen by the naked eye. Yet God sees. Genesis 16 Hagar after fleeing Sarai was found by the Lord. "Then she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “You are a God who sees”".
We often wonder if anyone really knows or cares. We run up against those who live for themselves and show no interest in our lives. It can certainly make us feel small.
But we are not lost to Jesus. He knows very well just where we are. Scripture says, and it cannot be broken, that His love never fails.
As a Pastor wisely put it this past weekend, we often play that children's game of "He Loves me, He loves me not" with Jesus. I did this sin or that sin oh no he must not love me anymore. Now I have to work at gaining His love back. No you don't. You can never lose the love of God for you. We devalue ourselves when we sin. Once we repent and ask for forgiveness we are seen as white as snow in the eyes of God.
We run into loneliness, we run into self abasement, the devaluation of ourselves when we know that we have sinned.
Oh, Child of God, don't. Jesus said to follow Him yes we are to take up our cross and follow, but He also said that His burden is easy and His yoke is light.
We put so much more onto the life of a Christian than Jesus intended.
Really read the lifestyle of the Disciples in the Gospels. How did they live? Imagine them today. Dear believer, you are the them of today. We will never attain the level of Apostleship that was theirs alone, but we are the product of centuries of Disciples teaching new Disciples.
Follow Me wasn't a suggestion. It wasn't one of many careers to choose from in the Christian life. It's THE life of a believer.
My sad regret in this life is that I didn't learn this sooner. I might have lived a better life for my Lord. In what way?
Oh in that I wasted so much time living for me rather than giving my all for Him.
Christians do that. It's as easy to lie to ourselves as it is for us to lie to others. We can easily believe that we are here only to prosper after coming to Christ. That you can pray for that and God will give it to you. How does prosperity fit in with trials and tribulations? How does it fit in with if the world hated Me, it will hate you too? If the Jesus said these things, and He did, you think that you are going to lead a fully prosperous life and a world bent on hating what you stand for is going to leave you alone? There are indeed people who have learned to still rely on Christ in prosperity. You see that is the trick. We are fallen sinful people. Just as unbelievers are. We are still tempted by the falsehood of prosperity to not rely on Christ for our needs.
The Disciples wanted for nothing. They were being taught how to live in the few years they personally were taught of Jesus.
Global warming isn't happening. Climate change isn't happening. Read what the Bible really reveals about this world. It's alive. It too awaits its Creator to return. It too has a plan and a purpose in God's plans for man. Even blood has life in it that knows when it's been shed. Genesis clearly says of Cain's murder of his brother, that his blood cries out from the ground. When the Lord Jesus created this world it was teeming with life and He called it good.
This world awaits the return of Christ. It's getting ready. Jesus said of the seasons we know what ought to come next.
What's coming has everything to do with us in the here and now. Our living for Jesus. Our being His children in obedience. Our following Him in our daily lives. Taking up our cross and following Christ. Loving as He loves. Remembering that we are loved of our God. We are never alone. To let go of living for self.
Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.
We have but one thing to do today.
Live for Jesus. Where He is working, join Him. Be in fellowship with Him. He's to be not just your Savior but your friend.