Our society today has a tendency
to think of God as our benevolent benefactor; and so, He is! We often consider our needs, but have difficulty with what
God may want from us. We must consider the foundational concepts of the Bible—we are the people of God.
Many have turned this around to where God is created for our benefit. It is difficult to explain, but the Sovereignty
of God is that He has a purpose and direction for us all. We are here to accomplish two important things in this life:
1) to love God and fellowship with Him, 2) to share that love with humanity. When we make it all about ourselves, we
find it is not compatible with God’s purpose. Oh, God still watches over His children, but He cannot bless us
as He wishes. Our blessings should be from service to others and not self-serving. The person that goes about
rejoicing in blessings has the responsibility to share those blessings with others.
There are two verses in the
Bible that humble us in our efforts to learn these lessons. “If anyone comes
to Me and does not hate (love less) his father and mother, wife and children, brothers
and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and
come after Me cannot be My disciple.” Luke 14:26-27 With a continuation:
“For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for
My sake will find it. For what profit is it to 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 the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and
then He will reward each according to his works.” Matthew 16:24-27
The verses in Luke tell us how we must love God more than any person or thing in our world. This gets us to the ole
concept where we prioritize life: God first, family second, and all others in order. Saying this has brought a number
of criticisms upon me, because most will argue saying family comes first. Believe this all they want, but when we put
God first, family is blessed—no matter what!
We must love God above all benefits we may receive from Him. This is said in conjunction with God’s calling and
purpose for that particular person. We must learn to take up our cross and follow! What is your cross, you may
ask? Well, it is your responsibility to serve and follow God, no matter the consequences that may follow. Many
people of a different belief have lost family because they decided to become a Christian. They are not only ridiculed,
but in extreme cases are killed for their belief in Jesus. This raises the question of, “What is your cross?”
How does your life reflect your faith in Jesus? The real point is that God will only require from you what is reasonable
for you. He will never put into a position of compromise with your family, unless that family refuses to embrace His
purpose for you. It is important that we comprehend the fullness of purpose for each of us. Until we do, we stand
in a questionable position of not knowing His purpose for us.
We must learn to leave our lives in the
shadow of God and follow the direction of the Holy Spirit. This is difficult, and many people come questioning just
what does God want from them! Where does God want them to serve? The best answer to this is for them to seek God’s
purpose prayerfully and then “wallow themselves out a hole”. Just start where you are by looking for a chore,
need or some sort of service to the Church or the community. Just look around you, there are a multitude of hurting
people you may have never seen before. Before, you ask the Holy Spirit to show you the needs around you. We must
be willing to sacrifice our comfort, time, energy, and finances to accomplish this in our lives. This is saying it will
“cost you” when you seek this in your lives. The cost may be great, or it may be small, but just as the
rich young ruler learned, we cannot hold back from God and expect blessing.
Another thing that shows itself
in any discussion about the cost of being a Christian, is the abundant blessing from Him. It is not a tit-for-tat reward
system, for we must be willing to give expecting nothing in return. This goes against the western concept of God; however,
the third world countries seem to have a better grasp to this. If we could only remember that this world is not our
home—Heaven is our ultimate destination and our rewards will be there waiting. We must realize that any rewards
(blessings) here and now are an exceptional thing. We must realize that God does want the best for His children here
and now, but it is only a shadow of the future. Many have learned that we must sacrifice now for our blessing later.
We are likened unto children that must be enticed with a candy to get us to follow God! A mature Christian realizes
that he does not need immediate rewards, but is doing this to serve God and do His bidding for the here and now.
The cost of following God is great for some and lesser for others, but we should all be ready for the call. There have
been many who when called upon, have put off, or down right refused with excuses to serve God. The list of excuses is
long, while the joy from doing His purpose is unending. We should realize the cost is far outweighed by the joy and
satisfaction in serving. It should never be about seeking “blessings”, but about our loving God and striving
with all our heart to do His purpose in this world. We then are able to satisfy self, and especially God, with a life
that is obedient to His purpose. There can be no greater thing in life than following the leadership of the Holy Spirit!
No greater experience that to prioritize God in our lives and be obedient to His purpose for our lives.