I was in the business of everyday life. Work, drop kids off at school, take kids to dance. I go to Church on Sunday. I love God. I do my due diligence, read scripture, obey the law. I consider myself to be a God fearing and productive member of society. Much like the people that had been carrying about before Jesus came along. Even while I am a productive member of society, there is something missing. Even the greatest accomplishments cannot fulfill the destiny within my heart.
I reach out to self help books, podcasts, TED talks. I strive for more in the workplace, look for it in hobbies, becoming a addict to the belief of the greater outcome, a passionate pursuit to greater happiness. I succumb the sickness and live in agreement of my quick rising emotional illness.
Then here comes Jesus.
The end of Matthew 7 says, By the time Jesus finished speaking, the crowds were dazed and overwhelmed by his teaching, because his words carried such great authority, quite unlike their religious scholars.
Jesus in our lives.
I shift my life in such a way that strives for more of Him. Accepting Him into my life. I believe His words as an authority over my life, nothing I have ever experienced. He is my friend, my healer, he is my teacher and he loves without condition.
Taking it all in.
Matthew 8. Jesus had so much authority when he spoke the sermon on the mount. Massive amounts of people began to follow him.
Much like the people of Matthew 8, I experience Jesus in such a way that my heart desires to have more of him. Getting so excited to be a part of Him, I want to share it with everyone. I want him in my family, my life, my every day movements. I want to follow Him!
Matthew 8:18 at the sight of large crowds gathering around him, Jesus gave orders to his disciples to get ready to sail back over to the other side of the lake. Just then a religious scholar approached him and said, "teacher, I will follow you wherever you go!"
Jesus replied, foxes have dens, birds have nests, but the son of man has no true home in this world.
I have now taken in all that Jesus is.
I want to be a part of that. I say I want to do all that it takes to be a part of Him. I pronounce my dying to self and whole sacrifice to all that He has to offer. By earthly standards, by the culture of the nation that I live in, I take this as a monetary gain. A rich and blessed place. Full of wisdom and treasures beyond my greatest measure. I want a piece of that.
Then, Jesus says to us, “you will need to forsake it all” to follow me.
I am so readily wanting to follow Jesus.
With starry eyes towards Jesus and saying yes to following Him, I am asked to give up ANY idol that stands in the way of following him WHOLEHEARTEDLY! What is that?
Following Jesus comes at a great cost.
This is not meant to be a devastation over our lives, it is meant to give us greater riches that we cannot even fathom. Jesus is not calling us to live a life of poverty, but something quite opposite. Our economical and social upbringing has been imprinted at an early age, to believe that poverty means not having earthly items. Not paying bills. Not having a home. We strive in the daily pursuit towards our “riches” by building an empire full of items. This is the imprint over our lives. These things, these monetary treasures, are the key to our successes. Our rich life. There is scripture all throughout that shows us much different than this.
Just because Jesus had nowhere to lay his head at night does not mean we are called to do the same. Here he is saying, you following me means to forsake it all. Every believer who follows Jesus needs to clear their heart of the competing love, even if it it causes real pain, angst and fear of doing it.
It is a great spiritual phenomenon that happens within us all. The moment we do this, we suddenly find ourselves having a place to lay our heads. The riches of Heaven belong to us.
Matthew 8:21, This is when another man spoke up and said he would follow. He says to Jesus, I will follow but first......
I am fully given to Jesus. Given all I have to follow him but first….. LET ME TAKE A SELFIE.
This means, let me take care of some things first. Wrap up the plans I have for my life. The expectations, the ambitions, the passions and the obligations that I have set before me. Let me do ME FIRST!
Matthew 8:22 But Jesus said to him, “Now is the time to follow me, and let those who are dead to bury their own dead.”
Jesus was not insensitive to special arrangements of our life. He wants us to pursue all things our hearts desire. Absolutely Jesus wants us to care for the needs of our families. He states this throughout scripture. Family is the essence of Jesus. Above all, Jesus does not want us to neglect our spiritual calling in the process of it all.
We say, Jesus I feel like I just gave you everything I have and I want to follow you. But first, I need to focus on my life and then I will come to you. Jesus answers back to us saying, do not neglect your highest calling that I have given you yet; only the spiritually dead go to the routine tasks that life has to offer. The things that seem important to you are not what they appear to be.
The moment we find ourselves completely willing to turn the selfie mode off. Change the direction of the picture we want to take and allow it to be in the direction of all that Christ has to offer, this is when we start to see everything our heart ever desired, show up.
We are reminded that the mundane part of our lives is now something quite exciting. It all belongs to Jesus and not us. We give it all to him and he returns it polished with favor.
I want to follow Jesus, but first “die to self”