Friday, January 22, 2021

Following Jesus Isn’t Easy



Take a moment and consider your life. Examine your lifestyle and the desires of your heart. 
Now answer this question: “Is that what Jesus wants from your life?”

Here is the problem with the way many of us live. At least I know it is a problem for me. We want the promises of God, but we are not willing to live like a follower of Jesus. 

If all that was required to be a Christian was to show up on Sunday morning and sing few songs and listen to a sermon, then being a disciple of Jesus would be easy. A seat in the sanctuary would offer us safety and security.

Being a true follower of Jesus is anything but it easy and it certainly isn’t safe. 

It requires getting out of the sanctuary and living to a moral standard, a standard that makes us seem like fools or prudes in this world: as aliens and strangers (1 Peter 2:11; NASB). If people don’t think we are strange for the way we live, then we are not living the way God’s wants us to live. 

Let’s face it, it is hard to be different and stand out from the crowd.

Being a disciple of Christ requires a new set of dreams: 
I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. (Galatians 2:20; NASB). 
When we made the decision to accept Jesus as our Savior we gave up the right to decide what we will do with our lives. Our lives becomes a matter of God’s will. 

It is hard to give up on our dreams and follow after Jesus.

This is the point that I want you to understand: When we stay in the sanctuary we miss out on the best that God wants for us. 

The life God has created us to live is discovered in living out what we belief. This is what actual faith is all about.

The life of faith isn’t safe. It beckons us to leave our comfort zones. It asks us to risks the way we learned to live life so we can discover true life.

John 15:9-13 (NASB)
“Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.
“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”

A question for you to ponder: Was Jesus safe in loving us?

Absolutely not! 

By loving us he made himself vulnerable to rejection. By loving us he served people who hated him. By loving us he gave up heaven and lived on this earth. By loving us he died a cruel death on the cross, taking on our sins. 

Jesus did not live a neat little safe life. Jesus faced struggles. Jesus had hardships. 

Do you know what? 

Jesus also knew love and joy. In spite of all the terrible things Jesus experienced, he still experienced the best life has to offer.

We don’t equate pain and joy. 

For us in order to be happy our lives have to be pain free.

According to Jesus the route to a full and joyous life is the route of pain. 

We discover the life God has for us when we live lives of love. Not just a life when we feel nice about other people, but when we make sacrifices to bring the Gospel into the world.

We don’t equate serving with love. 

For us love is about what other people do for us and how they make us feel. 

We discover love when we humble ourselves and become a servant to those around us. 

It doesn’t sound glamorous or fun. It is the way that we make the Gospel come alive in the world.

Jesus promised us a full life, but He did not promise a life that was comfortable and safe. 

The full and joyful life Jesus promised is discovered by loving God and loving people. 

Do you want the full life? Get out of the sanctuary and trust God with your life and love the people who live around you.

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