It’s no secret that we live in society that screams “Go! Go! Go!” We’re encouraged to give everything a try, to multi-task, and to follow whatever is new and trending. Our generation ultimately follows the flash, the hype, and is looking for the next “quick fix.” There are few things that call for our undivided and unsullied attention anymore. A lack of this deep consistency can leave us skating around on a playground of non-committal intent where we always have other things to do if something calls for “too much” of our attention or seems “inconvenient” to our lifestyles. Amidst the clamorous thunder of the world is a direct and sincere call from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain - John 15:16
This call is not one that we can find in the world, nor does it come from man, nor any invention of man. Rather, it comes directly from our Lord. A heavenly call to bear fruit that remains. As with all things that call our our name, there is a price to follow the upward call of Christ! As Dietrich Bonhoeffer puts it “When Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die.” (The Cost of Discipleship) This may seem nonsensical, but it isn’t a physical death we are called to, at least not directly, but rather a personal death, a death to self in order that we may live in Christ!
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me - Galatians 2:20
This death to self calls for the entire devotion of our heart. In every way we must move towards keeping the commandments of God and letting the Spirit of God direct our actions and words. This would make us to look more and more like Christ as we submit to the Word of God and allow it to purify our hearts to the deepest level. Upon this purification we realize that this death to self is a daily (1 Corinthians 15:31) and that it calls us to pick up our cross and follow Christ (Luke 9:23) and embrace His words (Luke 9:24) knowing that following Him is the best thing we can do with our lives.
Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels. - Luke 9:23-26
To do this we must learn from the One who set the example in all things, that is Jesus Christ. We must open our bibles and seek the words of the prophets and apostles, commune with our God through prayer, and make it our aim to please Him in all we do. (2 Corinthians 5:9) The Word also tells us to own our faith by finding out for ourselves if the teachings of a man/article/blog/or podcast are true by testing it against the Word of God! (1 John 4:1). Ultimately this journey of faith is the most amazing thing we can do in this life of ours, but we must first sit down and count the cost to see if we are truly willing to follow and represent Jesus as our Lord and Savior.
And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it— lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’? - Luke 14:27-30
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