That’s right! God wants you … even you… especially you!
Take Up the Cross and Follow Him
24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. [Matthew 16:23-25]
He wants you to DESIRE to “come after” Him [and His cause]. To leave behind [surrender] life as you know it [wave the red flag], take up your cross [His commission, equipment, “talents”, and marching orders for you], and follow Him [to the wilderness, the desert, the garden, and often the front lines of battle…].
Did you think that when you enlisted to the Jesus Boot Camp that it would be easy, or less challenging, then what the world demands from military service? If yes, you quickly found that it wasn’t. Did you feel that when you signed up for Jesus in your heart and chose to follow Him, that it would be all uphill from there? And found that… it was?! You climbed up, over, and through many obstacles and tests. You looked up His Word and found Jesus… His grace, mercy, strength, and armor to endure numerous and various trials. You felt yourself above the crushing blows, the hopeless endeavors, and the raging battle that ensued below. When the enemy would [often] strike, you were prompted to take the higher ground and taught how to avoid the temptations that once served to spiral you downhill. And having walked the course with Jesus, it didn’t take you very long, to see Him… poised high and ready to lift you up, out, and above any situation that was not yours to endure… any longer. By the mention of His name from your mouth or heart to His ears… you knew He was/is there. Nobody ever said discipleship would be easy, but it is the ‘tour of duty’ worth taking. The Commander and Chief is Awesome and Awe-inspiring.
God wants us. He doesn’t need us. He wants us to desire Him… in love, in service, in life. God could have made man [mankind] love Him automatically. He could have programmed us exactly the way He wanted us to act and feel. He didn’t. He gave us choice. Choice to… love Him for Him; first and above all others. Choice to… do what we do, in honor of serving our God and the territory He wants us to cover. Choice to… live out our commission from Him, to be the salt and the light to this dying world. If we being less than, want to be loved, respected, and cherished for who we are by choice, how much more the Father in Heaven?
Is The Father so different then how He has designed and makes expectation of His children… He wants us to love, serve, and live accordingly, to the good standard He has set of Himself. If we are family, we need to choose and aspire to “be holy, for HE is Holy!” Not because He makes us, but because we would so love to…
The choice has never been more apparent and enlightened for me as the three crosses at Calvary. On either side of Jesus on the Cross, stood choice… One convicted criminal said ‘yes’ to Jesus, and another [not so convicted] criminal said ‘no’…
“But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when You come into your kingdom.”
The ‘Yes Lord’ criminal didn’t walk one day in Christian service or was led through the salvation prayer… he just s_a_w JESUS!
“Truly I tell you, today you will be with Me in paradise.”
I think this is important to remember as we who call ourselves ‘Christian’… walk out in the world. There is but one way, one truth, one life [Jesus]… to the Father, but there are many ways we find ourselves… finding Jesus.