Walking with Jesus – a journey that never ends. #1
By Pastor George Lehman
Just to be bring a bit of perspective to a Disciple and a Christian
The disciples were first called Christians. (Acts 11: 26B)
A disciple is a disciplined learner.
“A disciple is a person who has decided that the most important thing in their life is to learn how to do what Jesus said to do.” – Willard
2 Corinthians 7:1 (Amp) – Therefore, since these [great] promises are ours, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that contaminates* and defiles body and spirit, and bring [our] consecration to completeness in the [reverential] fear of God.
*Contaminates means “Blending two into one” like sin and godliness – To make something less pure
Many Christians have said, “It is HARD to follow God”. Well it depends on your definition of “HARD”. Why is it hard, what is making it hard?
The question is: Does following God come at a cost? ABSOLUTELY!
Are there things and desires that you give up? All the time!
But is it “HARD” to follow God? The answer is a resounding “NO”!
Cost and self-sacrifice do not make something hard.
Nobody feels sorry for an athlete who wins an Olympic medal even though it required serious effort behind the scenes – all for one brief moment of glory. The medal, once attained, minimizes every cost and sacrifice.
1 Corinthians 9:25-27 (Message) – Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You’re after one that’s gold eternally. I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No sloppy living for me! I’m staying alert and in top condition. I’m not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself.
There are costs and a sacrifice to follow God. But it doesn’t mean it is “HARD” to follow God.
What does it mean to follow God?
It’s more than:
Sheep and Shepherd
Servant and Master
Creation and Creator
I’m the follower and He is the leader.
God is so much MORE! Scripture says…
He is our Father…
Romans 8:15 (Amp) – For [the Spirit which] you have now received [is] not a spirit of slavery to put you once more in bondage to fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption [the Spirit producing sonship] in [the bliss of] which we cry, Abba (Father)! Father!
He is our Brother…
Hebrews 2:11 (NIV) – Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.
He is our Intercessor…
Romans 8:34 (Amp) – Who is there to condemn [us]? Will Christ Jesus (the Messiah), Who died, or rather Who was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God actually pleading as He intercedes for us?
In addition scripture says I am…
I am a child of God
Romans 8:16 (Amp) – The Spirit Himself [thus] testifies together with our own spirit, [assuring us] that we are children of God.
I am a new creation.
2 Corinthians 5:17 (Amp) – Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come!
I am a sharer in His inheritance.
Romans 8:17 (Amp) – And if we are [His] children, then we are [His] heirs also: heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ [sharing His inheritance with Him]; only we must share His suffering if we are to share His glory.
When I began to fully realise that Jesus was my Lord and Saviour, my Brother, Intercessor, Father and Friend my relationship dramatically changed.
No longer is it “HARD” but it is a great an honour to serve Him.
Jesus greeted His future disciples with, “Come follow me”. He didn’t tell them the same thing everyday because they were already with Him!!
Jesus is with us every moment too!!
Clearly God wants more of a relationship with us than a slave has with his master or a King with his subjects.
It never stops to amaze me that God would pick a foul-mouthed, drunken, messed-up sinner like me to inherit everything He has for me.
It’s called grace! Grace means that ‘God does it all’.
Not to confuse grace with mercy, here are the definitions:
Mercy is letting you off the hook for something you did or rightly deserve.
Grace is giving you something you do not deserve and could not gain, buy or earn no matter how hard you try.
Ephesians 2:8 (Amp) – By grace you have been saved.
Nobody deserves salvation and there is not a single person who could work their way to heaven.
Many Christians are trying to please God by doing good works to remain in right standing with God.
Righteousness is not from what we do, but from who we are as believers in Christ.
It is possible to take grace too far, doing your own thing, living a life that is an embarrassment to Christ.
Not if you really love God, because if “you love God”, you will do what pleases Him.
In a nutshell – I am free to do whatever I want, since what you want is what God wants.
2 Corinthians 12:9 (Amp) – But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me!
As we journey with Jesus, there are many detours that will promise a better way, an easier way or a smoother way.
One such detour is, “The path of least resistance”.
If you choose not to obey God and instead do what you want to do you have just taken the path of least resistance.
This is when serving God as a true committed disciple begins to become HARD when you focus on yourself and not on HIM!
It’s when you think…
This is too hard.
I’m tired of giving up my WANTS and dreams.
What I want becomes more important.
This is taking the path of least resistance.
God doesn’t ask us to give up everything, but there are times when His plans and our plans do not match.
When we die to our own agenda and obey what God says, we stay on course.
Dying to self does not guarantee smooth sailing, but obstacles along God’s path are designed to mature us.
In Him, every setback is a setup to come back!
Denying self treats the symptoms.
Dying to self solves the problem.
The more we understand the process of walking this journey, the more we will allow our selfish ambitions to die.
As a result, you willingly trade:
Your wants for His wants.
Your ‘big’ dreams, for His dreams.
Your plans for His plans.
Your goals for His goals.
Your life for His life.
Matthew 24:13 (Amp) – But he who endures to the end will be saved.