June 19, 2012

"If you love me..."

"If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine. If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine. If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give it up for me, your will find true life." Matthew 10:37-39

This morning in My Utmost For His Highest, Oswald Chambers writes, "People do not want to be devoted to Jesus, but only to the cause He started. Jesus Christ is a source of deep offense to the educated mind of today that does not want Him in any other way than as a comrade." This is hard. And when I say "hard", I mean that living this way - being wholly devoted first to Jesus Himself - means my own death. Physical death would probably be easier; there's no choice involved. This death means being willfully emptied of my pride, my ambition, my need for vengeance and restitution, my gravitation toward the harsh reaction, and even my devotion to anything or anyone of this world. The willful death of self. This is why Jesus said, "No one comes to me unless the Father first draws him." The only road we can place our feet on that leads to Jesus is narrow and hard; and no one ever even moves forward down this path without the Holy Spirit consuming him - his thoughts, his heart, his decisions - his whole life. We cannot and will not inherently ever WANT this. Only the Spirit of God can bring us to this place.

This morning I'm newly reminded of that question: Am I following Jesus...or am I just following my tainted version of His cause? Am I pursuing the offensive, selfless, demanding Savior...or the 21st Century, Western Civilization, contextualized brand of religiosity that's provided me with a safe road to walk? One way to know is to ask myself: Can I navigate this on my own? If so, it's definitely not the way of the Christ-follower. Am I following Jesus's cause...or am I following Jesus Christ? 

If you want to serve people, it will only happen by being emptied of yourself.
If you want to love people - truly love them - it will only happen as you hand your own life over to death so that the life of Jesus Christ is birthed within you.

"We count as service what we do in the way of Christian work; Jesus Christ calls service what we are to Him, not what we do for Him. Discipleship is based on devotion to Jesus Christ, not on adherence to a belief or creed." -Oswald Chambers

What are we truly devoted to? 
Maybe the right question is "WHO are we truly devoted to?"

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