“I want you to follow me.” His voice tenderly speaks as you close your eyes. “I want you to choose me. I long for you to love me as I love you. I desire us to walk so closely together.”
You feel your heart quicken as thoughts fly through your mind of all that He might as you to give up. You think of your dreams, of your possessions, of your fears…”What if He calls me to Africa?..What if He asks me to give up my dream of being a musician?..I can’t do that…I don’t know if I could love Him as He loves me…I’m not worthy of His love.”
These thoughts fill your mind as you open your eyes and in doing so, you meet His. You quickly look away, unable to answer. You long to say yes, but aren’t sure if you could choose Him whole heartily. You know all the words He says to you, but how will that help you through the hard times? Through people’s questions, through darkness, through the constant pressing in of todays culture to fit in and be apart of the growing world…how can you say yes, when you aren’t sure of what the next step it…how can you say yes when you know you will be laying it all down..taking off your filthy rags and having placed on you His righteous robes.
In a heart beat you look back into His eyes. He smiles and in that moment, you realize, it doesn’t matter. The world and all it’s glamour..even your own hearts desires. For as He speaks, you gain clarity..
“Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will keep it.” Luke 17:33
What is there to gain in a life filled with meaningless? Chasing after one’s own desires which will one day fade. Trying to attain a certain degree of achievment here on earth, while our eternal place is fading.
For, let’s be real for a moment.
Love looks like something. To love the Lord means to act and to love Him back. To live lives that declare of our love for Him. Although His Words may not be easy to swallow, that doesn’t make them less real.
So often we overlook the scripture we aren’t willing to follow and try to pretend they aren’t there. But they are. And He call’s us to abide in Him and them.
For although Our God is a God of love, and He loves even the least of these and accepts all people. He has chosen us to be set apart and to live for Him. For when He finds us in our filthy rags, He cleanses us, robes us and sets us apart to be those who declare of His goodness. To live lives no longer for ourselves but from Him who has set us free and redeemed us. He doesn’t want us to go back to our old ways but to step onto a new path, one that walks intently with Him and in doing so, that will bring forth changes to the way we live, the way we act and the way we spend our time.
Why does that happen?
Because when you love someone, you want to show them. Just like in a marriage, you want to please them, to make them happy. To do the very things that will bring you closer, and never wanting anything to seperate the two of you from embracing a beautiful life together. For in marriage, if there is something that one is not willing to lay down,surrender that is hindering the marriage, that will cause problems, dis-unity and may even end it. For when we have nothing else in our lives to depend on, or that we can use with our own strength, we limit God to work in us. We push Him aside, because we ourselves have what we need to make it through. He becomes placed in the backseat of our lives, rather than helping us drive. We no longer let God be God, but rather limit Him, so that we can live the best life, we feel we deserve. But that’s a lie, for in Him is the fullness of life. In Him we can see who He truly is. When we are not limiting Him to who we want Him to be or who we think He should be, that is when He can do mighty things with our little laid down lives.
For that’s the thing, our lives are little. Our lives are but a breath…a breath that God has granted us. He has given us life, so we may choose to give it back unto Him.
He has given us a choice and has already proven His love for us. He has chosen us, now it’s up to us, will we choose Him? Will we take a hold of His hand and say yes, and never look back?
For that is how deep God’s love is for us. He see’s us as His beloveds. He wants the best for us and that best, is in Him alone. Anything else in this world will eventually fade and bring us heartbreak,
but there is one whom will bring us life instead,
Jesus , because He is real. He came to bring forth the truth of the Father, that holds the universe…that holds eternal life and in Him we find wholeness, we find that missing void we try to fill with the things of this life.We find everlasting joy and hope of better things to come.
And in that moment, you realize, there is joy in laying it down, but there is fear in holding on.
There is joy through the process of choosing Jesus daily, of laying down your life and picking up your cross.
There is joy in knowing Him who has called you to come to Him.
There is joy in having nothing else to depend on or rely on, other than Him.
There is joy through the darkness because we have been promised light.
There is joy knowing that what you are doing is not merely building a temporary home but an eternal kingdom.
There is joy in Jesus and choosing Him, for He has chosen you.
Let’s get real.
Jesus’ word’s are truth. Although they may be hard to swallow, that does not make them less true. Although they may bother you and not make sense, they are His words. If we try to cross out the things we don’t understand or don’t want to accept in the Bible, then we cannot accept any of it as truth.
“For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.” Hebrews 4:12
The more we hold onto, the less we are willing to give to the Lord.
The more we think we know and aren’t willing to surrender, is what keeps us from seeking Him or knowing Him intimatly.
It is not that He desires us to be unhappy, to be slaves, to be stripped of our freedom.
It’s not that He is far from us or keeps us at a distance. He is close and has laid it all out for us, it is up to us to draw near to God for Him to draw nearer to us,
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
Because it is only through Him that we will be set free…it is only through Him that we will be children and no longer slaves, that we will be filled with joy that is not determined by our circumstances.
For whatever we lay down, He will raise up for His glory.
For the rich young ruler (18:18-24) had done all the religious stuff, yet Jesus still said, “One thing you still lack, sell all that you have and distribute to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; and come follow me.” (v.22)
He lacked heart. He knew all the rules he figured he had to follow, yet he lacked true love for the Lord to give Him his whole life.
For the very thing we hold onto, is keeping us from getting closer to the Lord. It is keeping us from living laid down lives, istead of willing to say yes, we are bound to the “what if’s” or “how’s” if we are holding onto something other than Him.
Gently, He grabs your hand. Your heart begins to speed up as you try to read what He is going to say. You long to be so close to Him, yet the fear of the unknown is holding you back.
“Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the Kingdom of God, who will not recieve many times more in this time and in the age to come eternal life.”
Father God, I pray for clarity. I pray that you will bring forth newness to your word. May you speak to my heart and reveal the very thing(s) that I have been holding onto, the very thing(s) that I have been placing before you, not willing to lay it down at your feet. Through the Holy Spirit may you empower me to choose you, to leave it all behind and live a life laid down Jesus. I want you, to know you and be known by you. Enable me by your grace to walk closely with you, in Jesus name. Amen
“Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple”