Bible Reference: Luke 9:23-26
Bible Text: 23 Jesus continued to say to all of them, “Any of you who want to be my follower must stop thinking about yourself and what you want. You must be willing to carry the cross that is given to you every day for following me. 24 Any of you who try to save the life you have will lose it. But you who give up your life for me will save it. 25 It is worth nothing for you to have the whole world if you yourself are destroyed or lost. 26 Don’t be ashamed of me and my teaching. If that happens, I[a] will be ashamed of you when I come with my divine greatness and that of the Father and the holy angels.
Bible Translation: Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)
While on the way to a business reception I remember being challenged in the presence of about 4 others, why is that I don’t drink alcoholic beverages and whether it was related to my religious beliefs. I’m not sure if the businessman was starting to think that he might be ashamed of me while at the reception if I was one of the few not drinking, but I believe it was intended to question my Christian stand on the subject of drinking alcohol. There are many other stories I hear of individuals being challenged with similar questions. At times, I believe it opens the door for entertainment while the Christian is put on the spot about a belief that may be contrary to the worldly beliefs of others in the group, but I also believe that many times Satan is using his messengers to challenge us on our beliefs so that we may question our selves and possibly sweep our God-infused beliefs ‘under the rug’. Friends, there are many times that it is safer to blend in with the rest, than to stand out like a sore thumb, all alone in believing something contrary to the crowd. Might I suggest that this challenge is our ‘cross’ that we must carry every day? Let’s compare for a moment. Jesus carried a cross all the way up to Calvary that He knew He would be hung on to die. He also knew that, as the Son of God, He had all power to reverse the whole crucifixion, for we know that previously He had disappeared from a crowd of witness during His earthly ministry. He had miraculously turned water into wine, caused the blind to see and brought the dead back to life. Was there something about this crucifixion that was more difficult or impossible than any of the miracles just mentioned? However, remember when He prayed to His Father in the garden? In response to His own pleading for the cup of suffering to be taken from Him, Jesus said to His Father “none the less, may Your will be done”. Now let’s consider our ‘cross’ that we are called to carry every day. Like Jesus, we may commit to Him in private that we are determined to carry our ‘cross’ each day. However, like Peter, I believe we often cave in to the popular thing to do – the joys of partying and going along with the crowd, even if it takes us into choice areas that we would never agree to, if we sought to do the will of God withough any worldly pressures. Friends, I believe this all boils down to two things: First – Popularity – which means that we want to be super popular with the organizer of an event where we may have to compromise, or we just allow Satan to misguide us into putting God into a ‘box’ – a segregated comfortable ‘box’ we call the church, or even in the privacy of our home. We want to fit in with the crowd. However, Secondly – is Integrity – which means that we will stand firm to our commitment to serve God in season and out of season; at church or on the byways and at our parties or worldly events. Friends, if we surrender our lives to Jesus Christ, then transgress to living like the world, are we not saying that we are ok being a Christian in private, but publicly we are really ashamed of standing up for what God really teaches in His Word? Please allow me to be the first to tell you: that is not being a person of integrity. If you commit to something, or someone, let it exude from your mouth, your actions and every aspect of your life. If it’s in you, it will exude from you! I feel like these verses basically say that when we choose to be popular, or feel ashamed to be obedient to God, we are showing that we are ashamed of Him. Isn’t that the same as saying that you are really not sure that you want to commit to God for all aspects of your life? God declares that if this happens, He will shun us when He returns, for He will be ashamed of us. Is that what you truly want to happen? I pray that each of you reading this devotional today will stand firm and practice obedience to everything God teaches you to say and do, God being your helper!
Lord, as I reflect on this today, my mind goes back to the sign that I see near the exit of many churches ‘you are now entering your mission field’, for daily we leave the comfort of our homes, and the safety of our commitment to you, to be bombarded by the practices of the world and the dictates of it’s leader. Lord, I pray that daily we can mimick Your words to Your Father and commit ourselves in saying: not my will oh Lord, but may the words of our mouth, the meditation of our heart and the actions we take, be pleasing to You and represent Your compassion for our lives and witness, AMEN!
If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. 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 could 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 http://www.nuggetsfromgodsword.org and read more, or you may freely to subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. If you are anywhere near the Highlands County, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, located at 3750 Hammock Rd, Sebring, FL 33872! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!