Monday, January 10, 2022

         In Matthew 8:18-22, Jesus spoke about the cost of following Him.  To be a disciple of Christ is not easy.  The pathway for following Jesus can be long and rigorous.  Consider Jesus’ words, “When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake. Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, ‘Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.’  Jesus replied, ‘Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.’  Another disciple said to him, ‘Lord, first let me go and bury my father.’  But Jesus told him, ‘Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.’”  A few lessons stand out for us as we think about following Christ.
            First, following Jesus is difficult because much of the world is aligned against Him and His ways.  As I have told you repeatedly, we do have an enemy.  And this enemy is not flesh and blood.  This enemy wages spiritual warfare against us consistently and relentlessly.  He is a tough opponent.  When Jesus first came, He was soundly rejected by the world and even many, many of His own people.  The circumstances have not changed.  Jesus is still rejected by many and those who follow Him will face scorn, rejection and ridicule as well.
            Second, talk can be cheap.  The two people who approached Jesus in Matthew 8 made bold declarations that they wanted to follow Him.  But Jesus honestly told them what following Him would require of them.  No place to sleep.  Leaving behind other matters and business.  Living like many others cannot or will not live.  We often sing “I have decided to follow Jesus.”  Well, have we?  Are we willing to follow, as the song says, with no turning back.  Our choice to follow Jesus can often be conditional or contingent upon timing, comfort, ease and what is demanded of us. 
            Third, Jesus’ invitation to follow Him calls us for a response on our part.  Will we answer?  Will we answer on our terms or His?  Are we willing to go where He may lead us or call us?  In quiet times of reading the Bible and praying, we may gain a sense of where God is at work and what He is doing.  Some folks may hear His voice.  Others may gain a profound sense that God is drawing them to some new direction or pathway.  Still others may see that they have wasted a lot of time delaying, putting off and procrastinating with God’s call.  Scripture and prayer can give us clarity and perspective for seeing the road that Christ has placed before us. 
            Fourth, to follow Jesus is to welcome Him as Lord.  We all have a “lord” in life.  We all possess some form of ultimate loyalty or allegiance.  It could be a “thing, a person, a career or a possession.”  There is a difference between lord and Lord.  The lesser things we choose to cherish and pursue are lords.  The human and earthly things that capture our attention and loyalty are lords.  But Jesus alone is Lord.  Many people may like Jesus—but not all of them will call Him Lord. 
            Consider the pathway you are walking or will walk.  Consider whether you are serving a lord or the Lord.  There is time for a change—maybe not always—but there is time today.  Remember you can share our worship at youtube.com/FirstBaptistKannapolis.  Remember also to stay faithful in your giving to our church’s ministries and the things we do here locally and around the world.  Have a great day!    

1 Comment


Mark Whitley - January 10th, 2022 at 8:19am

Tom,

Thank you for your Spiritual Nourishment on this Monday. I pray you have a Blessed Day.

Mark

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