“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.
“And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.” Matthew 27:50
This verse occurs during the crucifixion of Jesus. He had been hanging on the cross for several hours. Now Jesus does something that only He had the power to do: He gave up His Spirit.
Giving up His Spirit is another way of saying He chose to stop living and die on the cross. He let His Spirit leave His body to die.
Look back at the life of Jesus. Throughout His ministry and walk on the earth He had given out many things. He gave out healing of the blind, the lame, the sick, and brought back life to the dead. He passed on His power and authority to the disciples.
In all of His ministry, however, He never gave up anything. He did not give up ground for Satan to claim.
Now, He gives up His Spirit, His life.
Jesus had stated that He came to lay His life down. He told Pilate that only He had the power to take His life. Jesus chose to die. He was following the desire of the Father. The people did not take His life, He gave it up.
No one has more power and authority than Jesus. He is the one who is in absolute control of everything.
As a believer you are supposed to be like Jesus. Are you willing to lay down your life for God and others?
Laying down your life, may not mean allowing yourself to be physically killed. It usually means just giving up your will and desires.
Jesus wants you to be a witness. Sometimes this may mean laying down your agenda to be that witness or to help someone.
You must lay down your desires to turn away from sin. The world will tell you that it is crazy to give up sin and follow Jesus, just like they did when Jesus died on the cross. Are you willing to be like Jesus and give up the one thing that is in your power to control?
Only you can give up something in your life. No one else can do it for you. You have absolute power in that area of your life. Be like Jesus today and give up anything that is not in God’s will. Be willing to follow God all the way, even if it means to death on a cross.
I pray today that God will reveal areas in your life you need to give up; that God will strengthen you to follow His will; that you will be like Jesus in every area of your life; that you will trust God with your whole life; and that God will use you to build His kingdom.