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Posts Tagged ‘sacrifice’

Follow Me

follow-me

 

Matthew 4:19

“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”

Matthew 8:22

But Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”

Matthew 9:9

As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.

Matthew 10:38

Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me.

Matthew 16:24

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.

Matthew 19:21

Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

Luke 14:27

And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

John 1:43

The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.”

 

I think Jesus makes it obvious that He wants us to follow Him. But what does it mean to follow Jesus? Does it mean, going to church on Sundays, praying occasionally and being a generally good person? Many people believe that this is exactly what following Jesus is all about. Sometimes, I wish it were that easy. There are two reasons that people find it hard to follow Jesus: they don’t really understand what following Jesus requires or they don’t really want to make the sacrifice that being a true disciple requires. Jesus says in Luke 14:27 that if we do not carry our cross and follow Him then we CANNOT be His disciple. I WANT to be a disciple! I don’t want to live without Jesus. How then do we follow Him? Below I give 4 ways to follow Jesus that have helped me in my journey of following Him:

  1. Prayer: Prayer is a two way conversation with God. When we pray, we share the good and the bad in our lives with Him. We also, open our hearts to listen to what God has to say. When we keep our hearts open and keep the conversation going, we allow Jesus to abide in us, and when that happens we want nothing more than to follow Him all the days of our lives.
  2. Digging into God’s word: When we dig into the Bible, we can feel the Holy Spirit breathing life into our lives. We learn about Jesus, but most importantly, we learn how to follow Jesus. We learn what it means to be a Christian. When we read the Bible, something magical happens. It transforms our lives. The words sink into our hearts and our souls and we become disciples of Jesus.
  3. Sacrifice: To follow Jesus, scripture says that we must deny ourselves. That means that we must put the will of God before our own. Scripture says that we are not to be of the world. 1 John 2:15 says not to love anything in the world. We get so caught up in worldly things that we forget Jesus. Jesus said that we must sell our possessions and give to the poor. I believe that Jesus is asking us to live simple lives, so that we will be able to give to those in need. I also, believe that Jesus wants us to live simply so we remember that He is the most important thing. We may be asked to leave our families, our homes, our livelihoods in order to follow Jesus. Jesus, Himself had no home. What is Jesus asking you to sacrifice in order to follow Him?
  4. Obedience: In order to follow Jesus, we must obey Him, no matter the cost. Obedience is hard. We want to live one way, but Jesus is calling us to live a completely different way. If we want to follow Jesus, we MUST obey what He says. There are times when Jesus may call us into a lifestyle that we would never think of to fulfill His purpose. Be willing to obey.

In my own life, Jesus has called me to follow Him in this season of my life as a single woman. I knew a few years after my divorce in 2000 that I was meant to be single. I have had some well intentioned shoves to meet someone, but I am meant to be single. I felt confirmation in that calling about 3 months ago when I read that according to the Catholic Church, being single can be a vocation. YES!!! I knew it! Not everyone is meant to be married. There are those of us who feel called to follow Jesus as single men and women. Along with prayer and studying the Bible, I follow Jesus through celibacy, living a simple life, and writing this blog. As a Providence Associate I am called to living a life of Love, Mercy, and Justice in my sphere of influence. My relationship with Jesus is my EVERYTHING! There is nothing more important than Jesus. There can’t be if we choose to be His followers.

CHALLENGE: Are you a follower of Jesus? How do you know? In what ways are you an example of a disciple of Jesus? I am challenging you to take a long hard look at your christian walk and write down the ways that you are following Jesus. Do you need to make any changes? Do you need to become less worldly? Do you need to simplify your life? Do you need to pray more? Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in becoming a disciple of Jesus that is willing to take up his/her cross and will immediately be willing to sacrifice everything when Jesus says, “Follow Me.” 

Jesus is calling you NOW to follow Him. He wants your heart. He wants your sacrifice. He wants your obedience. Are you willing to walk away from the world in order to follow Him today?

 

 

 

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simplicity

Luke 9:1-6

When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. He told them: “Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt.Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. If people do not welcome you, leave their town and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” So they set out and went from village to village, proclaiming the good news and healing people everywhere. (Italics mine)

Jesus made it clear to the disciples that He wanted them to live simply, focusing on the ONE important thing in their lives, proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ. I have heard people say that God has chosen certain people to be rich. I don’t buy it. That just doesn’t sound like the God of justice and equality that I know and love. Why would God choose some to be filthy rich and others to be homeless and hungry? Nope, doesn’t sound like the loving God that I worship.

In fact, scripture tells us just the opposite:

1 Timothy 6:9

Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.

Luke 18:25

Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

James 5:1-6

Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes.Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter.[a] You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you.

Matthew 6:24

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

I am not judging the rich in our society, but it comes down to what you do with those riches: will you horde them and selfishly keep them to yourself or will you share out of your abundance in obedience to God? Will you live in a million dollar mansion on a hill isolated from others or live simply, sharing with those in need in your community? The same questions also apply to those pastors and leaders of mega churches: are you going to waste millions of dollars on a huge church, perfectly manicured gardens and dozens of programs to entertain your congregants or are you going to maintain a simple building and give the millions to those in need in your community? Are you going to move your church to the fancy neighborhood in the ‘burbs or are you going to stay in the ghetto where your presence may actually do more good than you could ever imagine?

1 Timothy 6:17-19

Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God,who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.

Luke 12:33

Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God,who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.

Being rich is not a sin in itself. It is what you do with what God has blessed you with. Live simply and share your riches with those who are in need. Taking a look back at what Jesus told His disciples in Luke 9:1-6 we learn that we are to simplify our lives in three ways:

1. Material possessions

2. Time

3. Money

He told them: “Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt.

The disciples were told to take NOTHING for the journey! Jesus knew that material possessions and money would distract them from their purpose: proclaiming the good news and healing people. God provided what they needed, when they needed it. They lived simply. Their time was spent building relationships and proclaiming the good news. Period.

What does living simply mean to you? Take a look at the three things listed above and pray for God to guide you in ways to simplify your life, so that you can focus on our ONE true purpose: proclaiming the good news, building relationships and loving people to Jesus. List three ways under each category (material possessions, time and money) in which you can simplify your life. Give yourself a certain amount of time to accomplish those goals. How do you feel? Now, list three more ways to simplify for each category.

Don’t get discouraged. Simplifying sometimes means sacrifice. Is God worth the effort? I think He is. If you need encouragement along the way, I am here for you. Don’t give up! You can do this! One baby step at a time. Your reward will be treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:19-21).

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 Jesus

I am forever grateful for the sacrifice that Jesus made for me on the cross. Jesus did not have to die. He chose to die so that we may have eternal life with Him. That’s how much He loves us! Thank you, Jesus, for the sacrifice you made.

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