This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God and they will be my people. Hebrews 8:10
Laws are something that people cannot really live without. Every nation has many laws put in place to govern the people. While many people will follow most of the laws without any problem, there are some laws that many people hate to follow.
It is the same in a household. Parents put into place many different types of laws (rules) for children to follow. Some children will follow the rules, while some will fight against obeying those rules.
During the time of Moses, God put out some laws for the people to follow. As one reads through the history of Israel, the people had a difficult time following those rules. They knew about the laws, but chose not to follow them.
The main reason people do not follow the laws and rules are because the laws are not really upon their hearts. The law is only in their mind. It is only a set of regulations and may go against their own personal desires.
Long before Jesus came, Jeremiah prophesied that God would place His Law upon the hearts and minds of His people. His Law would become a part of the person’s heart’s desire. It will no longer be a requirement to follow, but a desire to follow. It is as though the person wrote the law himself and so desires to obey that law.
Even in human laws, when a person loves the law or rule, he is ready and willing to obey it with no complaint. He wants to obey because he loves it.
You may have struggles trying to follow some commands God has put in place, such as to love your enemy. Allow God’s commands and laws to penetrate your heart. Learn to love God’s commands to know God has them only for your well-being. The law is not there to hold you down or harm you, but to build you up.
As you learn to love the law, you will be able to follow it with no complaints or struggles. It becomes a desire to obey and please God, not just a command or demand.
Follow God’s laws out of love, not force.
I pray today that you will know the commands of God; that you will have God’s commands on your heart; that you will love to obey God; and that you will see God is set to help you be your best for Him and others.
“In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.” Luke 14:33
Most people love to have other people with them. They like to know that they are loved and cared for by someone else. Along with that, every person loves to have things also. There are very few people who do not like to have things and do not want people in their lives.
The difference in many people is what part do those things and other people play in their lives.
With things, it is very easy to see how important they are to some people. A person who loves his new car, often is outside washing and polishing it nearly every day. Or the person at his job is willing to always do extra work, work extreme long hours and fights for the top position. Most believers have no problem seeing that as idol worship and a bad thing.
One dangerous area Jesus brought up is with people. Many people really love their families–their spouses and their children. They would be willing to do anything for them.
Yes, God wants you to love your family. Yes, you are to take care of your family. However, God does not want you to put your family before Him.
If there is a difference between your family and God, you must choose God’s way first. Seek God first in everything you do. Don’t go, first, to your family.
When you seek God, make sure you are hearing God. He will have you do things that sometimes your family does not like. However, often He will change the hearts of your family and draw them into His will. If you are leading your family towards God each and everyday, they will learn to see God’s desires and be willing to follow them.
God needs to be the first and most important One in your life. Family should be second. Other people third. You, yourself, should be last in your life. This is loving God first, and others second as the Law stated and Jesus repeated.
Are you willing to give up everything and everyone in order to follow God? If not, Jesus said don’t even try, you cannot be His disciple.
I pray today that God will give you the strength to follow Him; that you will consider the cost of following Jesus; that God will help you know when to give up things and people to follow Him; that God will draw others closer to Him through you; and that God will build His kingdom through you.
“As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus at the tax collector’s booth, “Follow me,” Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him.” Mark 2:14
The ministry of Jesus had begun and many people were starting to follow Him. At different times, Jesus would walk up to someone and directly tell them to follow Him.
This time He went up to someone that everyone hated. This person was a tax collector. Levi was collecting taxes for the Roman government, who were controlling Israel against the desire of the Israelites. Since Levi was an Israelite, many looked at him as a traitor and despised him.
Yet, Jesus still called Levi to follow Him. Jesus looked at Levi in the same way as He looks at every person–they are sinner needing to be saved by Him.
Today, people often look at someone and state that, that person would never follow Jesus. They never give that person a chance to follow Jesus.
You need to offer the opportunity to follow Jesus to everyone you meet. Don’t just offer Jesus to those who look good or sound good. Pass Jesus on to every person.
Along with calling people to follow Him, notice that His calling people was not a request, it was a command. Jesus walked up to Levi and stated a command to follow Him. It was not left up for discussion or argument.
Jesus knows what is best for every person. This includes you.
When you offer Jesus to people, you must present it as a need that they cannot do without. Look at how a car salesman sells a car. He presents it in a way of a command that you need that car and cannot live without it.
Believers are to persuade people to follow Jesus, not just present Jesus. Every person needs Jesus desperately, even though they may not know it.
Do not be afraid to present Jesus to everyone you meet in a method that shows the desperate need they have.
Along with presenting Jesus, be willing to follow Jesus completely yourself. The same command given to Levi was given to you–follow Him. Are you fully following Jesus? Have you given Him your whole life? Follow Jesus today, it will be worth it.
I pray today that you will follow Jesus with your whole life; that Jesus will reveal more of Himself to you; that you will be willing to present Jesus as a need to everyone you meet; and that God will build His kingdom through you.
“Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, ‘Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.’ Jesus replied, Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” Matthew 8:19-20
Jesus was becoming very popular with everyone. People started to follow Him. Now a teacher of the law comes up to Jesus and states he will follow Him.
Instead of welcoming the man to follow Him, Jesus gives a strange answer. Jesus tells the man who He does not have a place to lay His head down at night, even though the animals do.
Jesus knew He was living a life that would not bring great wealth or comfort in this life. A person who has a place to lay down at night has a great comfort. Being homeless creates a lot of discomfort and no peace.
This teacher had got caught up in the hype of the moment and declared he would follow Jesus. Jesus points out that there could be a high cost to follow Him. Jesus does not have a home to go to.
Following Jesus does not automatically bring a life of luxury and comfort in the world’s eyes. It will not make you famous or wealthy.
Following Jesus does mean being a servant to everyone else; giving of yourself all the time; giving what you have to others; and not storing up for yourself. God may give you all of these things, but that is not the purpose for following Him.
Many people follow Jesus because of the excitement of the moment. Or they believe that life will be easy to follow Him, all their troubles will go away. This is not true.
Look at the life of Jesus. His life was one of a lot of pain, misery and suffering. As He healed people, others were wanting to kill Him and in the end did.
Jesus did have peace and comfort in knowing that He was following God the Father perfectly. You, also, can know that same peace and comfort in following Jesus. You have to remember though it is not the peace and comfort the world will understand. While in this life you will have struggles and troubles.
Be willing to follow Jesus. In the end when you get to heaven it will be worth the pain and suffering of today. All the work you will have to do in helping build His kingdom will bring great treasures in heaven some day. Count the cost of following Jesus, but know it is worth it.
I pray today that God will strengthen you in following Him; that you will be determined to follow Him at all costs; that God will guide you by His Holy Spirit in following Him; and that God’s kingdom will be built greater because of your walk with Him.
“Come, follow me, Jesus said, and I will send you out to fish for people. At once they left their nets and followed Him” Matthew 4:19-20
Simon Peter and Andrew were fishermen. They were out trying to catch some fish. There was nothing special about them, just regular workers at fishing.
Jesus comes up to them and tells them to follow Him and He will have them start fishing for people. The interesting thing is that they listened to Jesus and started following Him immediately.
Throughout the Gospels it is common for the people to be amazed when Jesus spoke because He spoke with authority. Chances are this is how He spoke to these fishermen. Why else would someone quit their livelihood and follow a stranger?
Even today, nearly 2,000 years later, Jesus still calls common people to do extraordinary things. If God calls a person that in himself can do the job, who is really going to get the credit for doing the job…that person, not God.
God wants to equip you for the work He has for you to do. God wants to get all the credit.
Some may want to complain about this, stating that God is a tyrant or a dictator. God does not work like that. He does what is best for you and for His kingdom.
Peter and Andrew could have stayed fishermen, but that is all they would have been. They never would have been recorded in history as a great person. They never would have had influence on the entire world.
Following Jesus, they ended up having an influence on the entire world. They become some of Jesus closest associates in a plan to change the world. They were brought into God’s eternal plan to save the world.
Today is no different. God is calling ordinary people to do a work for Him. He is calling you to do work for Him. There are still billions of people in this world who do not know Jesus. They do not know that God loves them and wants to be with them.
Are you willing to go out and find them? Go fish for them? Make a difference in this world for God. You cannot do it in your own abilities or power, it must be done with God’s guidance and power. You may be called to full-time, paid ministry or just to be a witness in your workplace, either way God can use you today.
I pray that you will hear God’s call for you; that you will listen and obey that call; that you will catch people for God; that God will fill you with His Holy Spirit to guide and direct you; and that God will use you to impact the world for Him.