DATE WRITTEN: Thursday, 2021-02-04
WRITTEN AT: Avon Park, FL
BIBLE REFERENCE: Matthew 10:37-39
TRANSLATION: New Century Version (NCV)
BIBLE TEXT: 37 “Those who love their father or mother more than they love me are not worthy to be my followers. Those who love their son or daughter more than they love me are not worthy to be my followers. 38 Whoever is not willing to carry the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Those who try to hold on to their lives will give up true life. Those who give up their lives for me will hold on to true life.
OBSERVATION: This is probably a challenging Scripture to understand, but I believe that God wants us to understand the difference between knowing Christ, and the willingness and commitment of following Him. The disciples were ‘Followers of Jesus Christ’, are you?
APPLICATION: Jesus, being the perfect Son of God, found the perfect illustrations to help us understand His teachings. There are twelve apostles commonly referred to in the New Testament, and there were numerous disciples who followed the teachings of Jesus Christ but never had a personal face-to-face encounter with Him. Christians today may often use the words Christian and Followers of Christ interchangeably, but there is a difference. I may have accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior, but have little desire to follow His example in everyday living or speech. The Bible teaches us that I would still be considered a Christian. My pastor, for example, may have accepted Jesus as Lord, but he may have gone on to also follow the teachings and example of Jesus in his everyday life. He, therefore, is a disciple, or follow of Jesus Christ. Friends, I believe that Jesus wants us to know that if we commit to not only knowing He is Lord, but also commit to follow in His footsteps and in obedience to His teachings, then I believe that we become usable vessels that He will use while we follow. Allow me to give you an example of verse 38. I served under a pastor who asked us to carry a cross with us 24/7 for a week. This was a wooden cross, about 3/4” thick and measured about 10” x 8”. No one checked me into a sanatorium, but there were some serious looks when folk visited my office, or if I had the cross with me when attending a business meeting. That may sound extreme to many readers, but imagine how much gentler that was than us doing some of the extreme things that Jesus did in His ministry while here on earth? That same pastor often chided about a whole family who stayed home from church to care for a mother who came down with a cold! Instead of declining an invitation to join friends at the beach on Sunday, because it is your day of worship, many will use the excuse that it’s the only day they have to do such recreation. Imagine the witness to those friends if we insisted in sticking to our commitment to be in God’s house for every opportunity of worship, because it may be our last opportunity? I feel like we allow our various situations to drive our decisions, rather than our commitment to follow Christ. A visiting relative might cause us to stay home with them, versus us inviting them to join us in our usual commitment to attend church. This is a very tough passage of Scripture, for it tells me that I must decide who has priority in my life. God or my parents? God or my daughter? God or my personal obligations (employment, church, social, etc). For if God is first in our lives, and we have committed to serve Him faithfully until the very end of time, then we will follow Him wherever and whenever He leads us. To whom, or what are you committed, or obligated? I pray that you will join me in striving to follow Jesus every day in every way.
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, You willingly went to the cross and was mocked, spit upon, tortured, and crucified, even though You had the power to bypass all that and walk away. As Your followers, I believe that we should be ready to say like You did ‘Not my will, Oh Lord, but thine’. Ashamedly I must admit that it is always easier to go along with the crowd, instead of responding in the center of Your will for our lives. Please give us strength and a renewed boldness to stand firm in the powerful name of Jesus Christ, our Savior and our Lord, for all time and until You return to take us home to glory. May others be influenced for Jesus Christ as they see us make decisions and show our commitment to You. AMEN!
FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’. If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please click on the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog might indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. I would encourage you to find a church home near by your home, and attend as frequently as you could. Get to know God, and allow His people to encourage and strengthen you in your Christian walk, while making every effort to be a blessing to them. God is at work among His people! Please consider growing in your faith, as you worship with fellow believers!