Jesus sometimes spoke very strong words to His followers and those who expressed a desire to follow Him. From calling people to be perfect to saying that the crowd should eat His flesh and drink His blood, Jesus knew how to challenge everyone outside of their comfort zone. He harshly rebuked Simon Peter on a number of occasions. Jesus continually pushed the disciples to new places of faith and self abandonment.
Jesus told people to take up their cross and follow Him, a concept that would have seemed more repulsive during the first century than it does today. When one man asked for time to bury his father, Jesus said that the dead should bury their own dead. Jesus called those who followed Him to put everything else below their devotion to God. There are no excuses or reasons to shy away from God’s call. Either you are in, or you are not. There is no middle ground. That is where the double minded live, and they are unstable in all that they do.
Why did Jesus seem to set the bar so high? I think Jesus did this because He knew our human tendency to look for ways to get out of what we know we should do. The truth is that we do what we want to do. We have all the time we need to do what matters most. But all too often, we say something is really important and ignore it. We have lied to ourselves. And until we realize that, we just won’t change.
Anyone who is a Christian should hear the call to abandon all and trust God with everything. This requires us to go beyond talk and good intentions. We have to act in faith and divine empowerment as enabled by the Holy Spirit.
Check out this related devotion at http://utmost.org/the-go-of-renunciation/
Posted in God's Voice, Lies, My Depravity, Religiosity, Transformation
Tagged Discipleship, divine call, follow Jesus, Jesus, obey God, suffering, take up cross, way of the cross
Oswald Chambers wrote in My Utmost for His Highest, ” A pitiful, sickly, and self-centered kind of prayer and a determined effort and selfish desire to be right with God are never found in the New Testament. The fact that I am trying to be right with God is actually a sign that I am rebelling against the atonement by the Cross of Christ… I cannot make myself right with God; I cannot make my life perfect. I can only be right with God if I accept the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ as an absolute gift. Am I humble enough to accept it?”
“There is a great deal of prayer that comes from actual disbelief in the atonement. Jesus is not just beginning to save us— He has already saved us completely. It is an accomplished fact, and it is an insult to Him for us to ask Him to do what He has already done.”
I find Chambers’ words an indictment to many of the prayers that I have prayed in my life. Why do I pray for things that God has already done? Why don’t I take hold of these spiritual realities by faith? It can be real easy to thing we are being very spiritual when our petitions before God ring of faithlessness and a lack of godly understanding.
When Jesus said on the cross, “It is finished,” He meant it. These are some of the most profound words ever uttered. The implications change human history. Jesus has already obtained our salvation, freedom and future.
The only barrier we find to these greatest gifts is not God’s willingness to provide them because the real work is already done. The difficult part is accepting the full implications of the cross by faith.
We have to come to the end of ourselves and realize the futility of our works. We have to understand the amazing quality of God’s grace and the fullness of its power to impart reconciliation and transformation. When I come to the reality of what I can’t do on my own, I start to realize the power in what Christ has already done for me.
Posted in Divine Power, Lies, My Depravity, Prayer, Religiosity, Transformation
Tagged amazing grace, Chambers, depravity, Divine Power, Finished, grace, It Is Finished, Jesus, Jesus' atonement, Oswald Chambers, Utmost for His Highest