Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Cost of Following Jesus all the way to Heaven

In order to apprehend one thing, we often must let go of another. If an olympian wants to compete, they give up many things to 'go for the gold'. One pursuing a college degree must give up lots of money. You have your own examples I'm sure.

When I heard the gospel and decided to follow Jesus, I was working as a Hairstylist at Regis Hairstylists in St Paul, MN. I had been working there for six years. I had a large clientele by that time and a sizable income for a hairstylist in the early nineties. I was pregnant with my first baby and after she was born, the call came to follow Jesus out of my career and into being a full-time mom. It was hard, but I left, I followed. And I'm so glad I did!

Shortly after that, I learned that my husband wanted to live on a farm and without my income, there was no way we could find one in our budget in the Twin Cities metro. (and I really didn't want to live on a farm after having grown up on a dairy farm.) But I knew that God wanted me to follow him, so we kept looking and found a farm on the other side of the St. Croix River in Wisconsin. I didn't really want to live in Wisconsin. It was hard, but I left, I followed. And I'm so glad I did!

I have several other stories of leaving and following and being blessed in my journey. Currently my call to follow Jesus is to close my gift shop and to spend my time encouraging and building up His people. Whatever that happens to end up looking like. To live loving and serving the people Jesus brings me to. I am leaving, I am following...

The journey of following Jesus is promised to be costly. The road leads us often to crossroads. Places of making choices. Choices that demand our loyalties; that test our loyalties

When we follow Jesus, its 'go with Him or go away from Him'. The choice is ours.

The One Way is narrow, rocky, and sometimes seems dark. But Jesus is there with His love and light. Truth and Stability, even in hard places, are our constant companions. Heaven is our goal.
Matthew 7:13-14

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 holes and birds of the air 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.” 
Matthew 8:18-22

At first read, this might sounds treacherous and unfeeling.  And we know that Jesus' life was often treacherous  but He is never unfeeling. We also know we are to love and care for our own flesh and blood, so His words cannot mean what they sound like at first.

The Holy Spirit reveals here that all of my earthly ties must be severed if that is where Jesus takes me. If I follow Him, and he says 'lets go here' and I am more loyal to what I want. To where I live or yes, even my own flesh and blood. If I am unwilling to leave them, then I inevitably am saying I am willing to leave Jesus, and I turn away from following Him. (and it proves that He is not my first love~Read Revelation 2:4-5)

Right after Jesus words I mentioned above, the disciples followed him into a boat and they experienced a storm that threatened to capsize them. But with Jesus in the boat with them... (you can read the story here: Matthew 8:23-27)

Choosing the other way, the broad road, perhaps seems more comfortable, may appear brighter and more spacious. But it is filled only with human opinion which has no nourishment for your soul, and frankly is directionless. If you choose that way, you will go in circles at best. You will feel purposeless, and unfulfilled. At the end of the time you are given, you will look over your life and it will all be meaningless. You will perhaps have good memories, have accomplished great feats, but memories fade, names and trophies fade, and then there is a grave. 

Matthew 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

1 comment:

Alicia said...

Isn't it amazing where He leads when we say "YES".. so often, NOT to the places we'd dreamed of, but ALWAYS to the places where He IS. Keep following, friend. Love your stories and your heart.