What a mighty and wonderful God we serve. I just love when He ministers to me, and on Christmas night, I was served a good portion of His word that really inspired me to want God more. This bible reading was by far one of the most soul satisfying sessions I have had in a while. Oh how I love the Holy and Living Bible. Let me tell you, if you do not spend time in your bible, you are really missing out on the greatness of God. Sunday sermons should not be enough for you. Okay enough with my bragging on God and His Word let me get to the topic of this post. I was led to Luke 9:57-62.
The Cost of Discipleship
“Now it happened as they journeyed on the road, that someone said to Him, “Lord I will follow You wherever You go.”
And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head“.
Then He said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”
Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.”
And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.”
But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.””
Luke 9:57-62 NKJV
I am pretty sure I have read this text before but obviously I never paid too much attention to it. I can truly say that God and His Holy Spirit gave me much-needed insight. The cost of discipleship (Following Jesus) is a big one. It costs us to: Get outside of our comfort zones, lose our mindset of following Jesus when it’s convenient, and also not get too caught up in worldly distractions. Now in the text, Jesus was with some people following Him, they liked Jesus and wanted to be around Jesus, but the sacrifice it was going to take to truly follow Jesus was not what they were expecting. When we get excited for Jesus and wanting to do all that He’s asking, it pleases God. It also stirs up a desire inside our soul, but after a while when we see what it takes, we back down. God loves when we get fired up for Him, but God is an honest God and not a God of deceit, so He will give you an insight on what it takes to truly follow Him. He will let you know that it will be some things you are going to have to let go of, some things you will have to do, and some things you will have to place on the back burner. Following Jesus is a great thing, but it will be a journey. You will have good days and you will have rough days, but He will always be there to help guide you if you remain in His will.
Reading the text, made me think of a lot of people, no one in particular just people in general including myself. We want to be in God’s will, we want to live right but when we are called to follow Jesus, we all of a sudden have a thousand excuses. We tend to let three main hindering factors to get in our way of truly obeying God and entering into the Kingdom of God:
- Our comfort zones
- Having a mindset of obeying and following Jesus when it is convenient
- Being distracted by worldly matters
When God calls you, you must be willing to put aside your lifestyle and do what needs to be done. Allow me to break down each factor to help you understand how they are getting in your way.
One thing that really gets in the way is getting a little too comfortable in the way your life is going. It costs to be a follower of God, it is not easy. You will have to step outside of your comfort zones. Jesus will bring you to things you may feel you are not yet ready to get into. A comfortable disciple cannot please God and if you are only ready on your time, you can delay your blessing. God is on His time, and He may need you to do something NOW so that He can prepare you for something else. Listen, God will prepare you before a blessing. God will let it be known that there is responsibility and hard work needed to fulfil His will for your life. That is why He is trying to prepare you. You want to be a follower of God, you want to live for Him, but do you have an eagerness to do and go wherever He tells you; Even if it is uncomfortable? Sometimes that non comforting task or season is what breaks away something holding you back to elevate you.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 NKJV
Well maybe you are not afraid to get out that comfort zone but you just really do not have the time to put your all into following God right now. You can only obey God, once it fits in your hectic schedule. God has been calling you, but you keep putting Him off like He’s one of your friends that you hang out with only when you want to. By the way if you treat your real friends like that, you are a bad friend FYI. You have to get rid of that dangerous mindset that you have to get things done before you can reply to God. In today’s world we have lives that create a way for excuses to be reasonable. Some examples are being too busy with work because you have to pay your bills and take care of family, mourning the loss of a loved one so following God is just not on your mind right now, you are in college and school work is all you have time for, or having to put all your time in raising rebellious kids, so God calling you to help someone else out is little out of your hands right now. Church is also an example, maybe God has called you to attend church more often but you ALWAYS have an excuse, yet you are able to make it to the movies, or to your friend’s gathering. In God’s eyes none of those excuses are acceptable. When God gives a command, He expects us to reply and obey.
Why do you keep putting off Jesus until your schedule is clear? He is your Savior; He died on the cross for YOUR sins. He does not have to wait. God can quickly make your schedule disappear, but He wants willing followers, not one who follows when it is convenient enough. If your schedule and life is too hectic to truly follow God, why not simply ask God how you can make time for Him. God will make a way if you come to Him with a genuine heart. Listen; just stop giving your leftover time to God. When you seek God your schedule will fall in line with His will.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Matthew 6:33 NKJV
When God calls you to follow Him, there should not be anything you allow to get you distracted. Unfortunately in today’s world we have a lot of distractions such as our past. Our past is something that holds a lot of us back and it may be what is getting in your way of following Jesus. I wrote a blog post about letting go of the past. You can read it here and maybe it can help you to understand that holding on and dwelling on the unimportant will not help you grow. When God calls someone, if they are distracted by worldly matters and their past, most likely they will try to bargain with God. They will pray and ask God to bless and fit their dysfunction into God’s will. Do not be that person. Instead surrender everything and take up your cross and have faith that following Jesus will lead you to a better life. You see the distracted follower loves God, wants to live for God, but they have so much on their plate taking up their time, energy and hope. What God has for you is worth much more than a failed relationship, or past events that haunts you. God can heal, restore, and help you recover, but you have to ask and be willing to do what it takes to be healed. I know it’s hard, but you cannot allow your curiosity, or your repetitive looking back keep you stuck and unable to move forward following God. Stay focused on God. Things are in the past for a reason, let it go and follow God.
“Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:18-19 NKJV
When God calls you, it is time. It is time to put aside the foolishness and be intentional with your discipleship. You must put aside your comfort zones, your lazy ways, and distracted minds. It means more than you think when it comes to following God. He will make a way, when you are willing and ready to do what needs to be done. No matter where you are in life, if God has called you, then you need to answer. You cannot keep waiting for your schedule to clear up to have quiet time, to pray, to help someone in need. You cannot wait until you are not afraid to step out. You cannot wait until your heart is healed from a recent break up. No, God wants to use you NOW. He wants you to follow Him NOW.
God has a brand new life just waiting for you, but you will have to step up and out and do the unpopular; making sacrifices. It will not be an easy journey, it is not all glitz and glam, there will be rough seasons but it will all be for your good. God wants to use YOU NOW. He is tired of waiting on you to decide whether or not you want to fully give your life to Him. Stop putting God second. Stop giving Him your leftover time. Stop half stepping. If you get bored or lose interest, PRAY and tell God and I guarantee He will ignite motivation in you. A true follower that enters the Kingdom of God is an obedient one and a willing one. What has God been leading you to do?
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