How much do you love Jesus?
If you had to? What would you be willing to give up for Him?
Or have you given up anything?
Have you ever lost a job, promotion over your faith?
Or has anyone? Friend, family member, or spouse? Ever asked you to choose between them, and Him?
And if so? It can be difficult and very painful (to say the least!)!
You see we tend to believe that as Christians
our lives will be easier. That once we are saved that our, "trials are all over". Or that we will not suffer anymore. But
nothing could be further from the truth. That is just not reality!
You see we do not take seriously what Jesus said to us:
"When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires
to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life
will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what will it profit a man if
he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For whoever is ashamed
of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the
glory of His Father with the holy angels.”
(Mark 8:34-38 NKJV)
“If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world,
the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world
hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted
Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also."
(John 15:18-20 NKJV)
We tend to think that now that we are saved our lives our easier. And this is just not reality
(for more info click here: The "reality" of the real Christian life!)!
Now in reality? Yes, our lives are much better! We
have Jesus as Lord of our lives. We have been reconciled to God.
We are now children of God (1 JN 3:1). And we are "victorious" in Him. But we also become "strangers" in this world. Just
as those who came before us!
Who have put their trust in Him:
"These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them,
embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth."
(Hebrews 11:13 NKJV)
And as strangers? The world will not embrace us! Just as we were told by Jesus in John 15:19 (above).
This world is no longer our own. Which makes
us "enemies" of darkness.
You see really living for God? It holds
a price. What is this price? Just what Jesus said to us! We have to "deny ourselves":
"Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up
his cross daily, and follow Me."
(Luke 9:23 NKJV)
Not just when we want too! Or when we ,"feel like it"!! ...But daily!!!
You see if you truly love God? The way we
"And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with
all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment."
(Mark 12:30 NKJV)
Then the reality is? You will lose yourself!
...But you also will find God! And have an "abundant" life:
"The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and
that they may have it more abundantly."
(John 10:10 NKJV)
And His Spirit dwells within you:
"Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?"
Corinthians 3:16 NKJV)
Conforming you to His image:
"For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be
the firstborn among many brethren."
(Romans 8:29 NKJV)
And you are led by the Spirit of God:
"However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His
own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come."
(John 16:13 NKJV)
What is it to "lose" yourself? It is to really (and honestly) give your life to Christ. Your
dreams, your desires. Everything you would have for yourself in a "normal" view of the world (and it's natural selfish
desires). It's putting God's will for your life above your own. Now, does it mean you will not be happy? Nor have blessings
in this life? Not at all! But it means that you seek God's will for your life. And in all apsects of your life. First
and foremost of all!
You see we have to remember. We were bought at a price. We are really not our own:
"Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from
God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your
spirit, which are God’s."
(1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NKJV)
And as being the Lord's? We need to be seeking His will for our lives! Not the world's!!
You see, the life of one who truly loves God with all their heart mind, soul and strength (MK 12:30)? It really is not
easy. It could cost you jobs, possessions, family, husbands and wives. The "career" you wanted for yourself.
....And even your physical life. And many who have paid this price?
....Understand it well!
And there are those today all over the world. Who, even now? Are giving their lives for their faith.
But what are you willing to give up for your faith? or what have you ever risked losing?
Now, we certainly do not want to invite. Nor go around purposely losing that (or those) which is (are) dear to us!
But we do need to realize that as true believers in Jesus? That really living for Him does have it's cost! But at the same
time? Knowing God, His Son intimately? Is awesome! Nothing (nor anyone) can compare!!
..And He will bless us (for our trials):
"Blessed are you when men hate you,
And when they exclude you,
And revile you,
and cast out your name as evil,
For the Son of Man’s sake.
Rejoice in that day and leap for joy!
For indeed your reward is great in heaven,
like manner their fathers did to the prophets."
(Luke 6:22-23 NKJV)
Life can be painful at times. But just as David said:
"Better is one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of the wicked."
Think about it! One day in the presence of God is awesome! So much better than all the days we could be given away from
And He will work ALL things for our benefit:
"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according
to His purpose."
(Romans 8:28 NKJV)
So as hard as times may get? We can be assured that God is ALWAYS working in the background for our good! He will see us
through (Phil. 1:6)!!
You see Jesus said, "many are called, but few are chosen" (MT 22:14). Are you one of the chosen?
You see if we truly
love Jesus? If we truly live for Him? Not only will we be attacked by the evil one (1 Peter 5:8). But by those he influences.
And those who do not love God. Nor want anything to do with Him.
And sadly enough? It can even be our own family:
"and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.'
(Matthew 10:36 NKJV)
Or anything in our lives we may hold dear to us.
But even in this we are promised that He will give us all we need:
"And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus."
(Philippians 4:13 NKJV)
And as those we care for reject us? He will give us so much better:
"So Jesus answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or
sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive
a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and
in the age to come, eternal life."
(Mark 10:29-20 NKJV)
You see many of us can, "talk" a good "game"! But how many of us really, "put the rubber to the
road"? "Walk what we talk"?
It's one thing to say it! But another to really live it!!
When we say, "yes Lord, "I'll go where you go". Do we
go? Or are we like Peter? Do we say, "yes":
"Peter said to Him, “Even if all are made to stumble, yet I will not be.”
Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you that today, even this night, before the rooster crows twice, you
will deny Me three times.”
But he spoke more vehemently, “If I have to die with You, I will not
And they all said likewise."
(Mark 14:29-31 NKJV)
Then we deny him?
"Now as Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came. And when she saw Peter
warming himself, she looked at him and said, “You also were with Jesus of Nazareth.”
denied it, saying, “I neither know nor understand what you are saying.” And he went out on the porch, and
a rooster crowed.
And the servant girl saw him again, and began to say to those who stood by, “This
is one of them.” But he denied it again.
And a little later those who stood by said to Peter again,
“Surely you are one of them; for you are a Galilean, and your speech shows it.” Then he began
to curse and swear, “I do not know this Man of whom you speak!” A second time the rooster crowed.
Then Peter called to mind the word that Jesus had said to him, “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three
times.” And when he thought about it, he wept."
(Mark 14:66-72 NKJV)
But of course Jesus restored Peter:
"So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me
more than these?”
He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”
to him, “Feed My lambs.”
He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah,
do you love Me?”
He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”
to him, “Tend My sheep.”
He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do
you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?”
And he said
to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed My
(John 21:15-17 NKJV)
And if we have also strayed? He will restore us. If we come back repentant!
You see it's easy for any of us to just
say "yes, Lord I love you and I'll follow you". But do we really? Are we really serious about our faith?
this is all about WHO we really are in Christ!
Do we give up any time for His kingdom purposes?
Do we stand up for Him (persevere in our faith)? Even if those we love walk out on us? Or betray us?
Or we lose a job over our faith?
Or those we believed were our friends? They turn their backs because we will not relent on what we know to be right?
Only each and every one of us? Can answer this!
You see following Jesus? It has a price. That price, foremost of all? We know to be His sacrifice on the cross (Romans
5:8). But it laso carries a responsibility for us. To truly love Him. To follow Him! To deny ourselves!! And become His disciples:
"If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me,
him My Father will honor."
(John 12:26 NKJV)
The question for all of us? Is this. Are we truly willing to lose ourselves in Him?
"And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose
it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it."
(Matthew 10:38-39 NKJV)
And here is some, "food" for thought:
"If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right
hand of God."
(Colossians 3:1 NKJV)
Think about it!