Read His Words Before Ours!
Suppose the world authority orders you, on threat of death, not to talk about Jesus; what would you do? Most believers in Jesus would answer, “I would rather obey God than men” (Acts 5:29) . . . while we’re in our comfort zone. But would our answer be the same when the reality of suffering dawns on us?
The Lord told us clearly we would be hated for His name’s sake; following Him may cost our lives. (Matthew 10:22) His words are becoming reality for us now as the Jewish authority (the Sanhedrin) does not want us to preach Jesus. Despite doing everything possible to stop the spread of the news of Jesus’ resurrection, they found us preaching and people responding with believing in Him. Every day, large numbers of believers are added to the Church. (Acts 2:47)
We have been arrested and strictly warned never to preach in His name again. Our lives are on the line because of the gospel of Christ. Amidst the Sanhedrin’s threats, I told them, without hesitation, we will not obey their command and thereby defy God’s own.
Does it sound risky?
But my relationship with Jesus has gone beyond following my will.
My will no longer counts; His will be done.
I must live for Jesus and preach His gospel of salvation while I am in this body. My journey with Him has reached a point of no return; come what may.
I decided this after undergoing a process of life transformation during my walk with Christ. After encountering Him at Lake Gennesaret, I discovered life at its best is only found in Christ. I would rather go through any kind of storm with Him than a storm-free life without Him.
Perhaps you think being with Jesus physically made following easy for me. Not at all; I stumbled and faltered as I faced painful and challenging situations. Yet, I pressed on with His help.
Let me share some of my story, so you can be encouraged and persevere!
Initially, when I started the journey, I was excited seeing Jesus performing different miracles. Not only that, we (His disciples) also healed and cast out demons in His name. Another exciting moment was at the Mount of Transfiguration, where I saw His glory when Moses and Elijah appeared to Him. In addition, He told me He would give me the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. (Matthew 16:19) Wow, I thought I had become a giant of faith.
But one night my faith was tested, and I discovered I was not the giant I imagined. We were in a boat at midnight, tossed by a great wind; we saw Jesus walking on water. We thought it was a ghost, but He assured us not to be afraid, that it was He. So, I asked Him to command me to come to Him. He did. At once, I stepped out onto the water and started walking, thinking of myself as the giant of the faith, Peter. Suddenly the wind became furious; fear gripped me, and I started sinking. I cried to Jesus for help and He saved me. The Lord rebuked me for doubting. I saw myself as a failure, but was comforted because Jesus did not abandon me.
When we celebrated the Passover together, He told us He would be arrested and killed, and we would all desert Him. I declared I would NEVER desert Him; I would go with Him to the point of death. But reality dawned on me when Jesus was arrested: I found myself denying knowing my Lord for fear of my peers.
When I realized the devastating choice I’d made, I wept bitterly for mercy. Following His resurrection, Jesus graciously restored me. In my sober moment, I recalled what the Lord told us one day, regarding following Him. He said,
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters–yes and even his own life–he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after Me cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26-27)
“If anyone wants to follow after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it.” (Luke 9:23-24)
“Yes, I understand,” I told myself; I must let go of my life by surrendering it absolutely to Christ. And after His resurrection, at our final meeting with Him, I accepted wholeheartedly His mandate.
Hearing my story, do you understand my assertion?
It’s not enough to say we would obey God while in our comfort zones?
His will must be paramount to the cost of our lives, for true surrender is worth the cost.
Take courage, Believers!
The journey of following Jesus is not by our might nor by our power, but by the Spirit of the Lord (Zechariah 4:6)! Whatever you pass through, be assured He will be there with you (Isaiah 43:2). He promises to never leave you nor forsake you (Joshua 1:5).
Because He is worthy.
Our surrender, though costly, is worth it.
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!