Once you have received the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior, your life is forever changed. How much change depends largely upon how much risk you’re willing to take for Him.
Some people dig in their heals and insist on remaining in their comfort zone. They do not want to rock their boat. Others embrace change and are willing to put themselves out there and risk losing everything, counting it all but loss for the goal of that upward call.
The sacrifices we make don’t have to feel like sacrifices. But when our hearts are divided between serving the Lord and serving ourselves, it can get pretty hard to remain faithful to Him.
Let’s face it, there are a lot of people who take fiendish delight in stirring up trouble for believers. And that trouble can be devastating. If we cling too tightly to our home, our family, our job, our friends, and whatever else we like to call ours, we’re going to have a horrendous time recovering from the loss. But Jesus doesn’t want us to take possession of anything but the new life He offers. Everything else and everyone else is His. He wants us to be ready to pull up stakes and move on at a moment’s notice. We are sojourners here on earth. Our eternal home is heaven; earth is merely a stopping point. The life we live down here is a blink of an eye compared with the glorious eternity that awaits us.
Do we want to store up treasures down here and worry about what might get stolen or who might get taken from us, or do we want to keep our eyes stayed on Him (Isaiah 26:3) and allow Him to give and take according to His perfect will?
If we are totally sold out to Him, is there any risk involved? When you really stop to think about it, there isn’t. If He is our life, our world, our peace, our joy, our strength, our comfort, our everything, we know He will never leave us nor forsake us. We’ll always be His, and He’ll always be ours. So where’s the risk in following Him and serving Him wholeheartedly?
Oh, but someone might go after my kids! Well, but Who saw fit to allow you to have those kids in the first place? Who opened that door for you? Was it not the Lord your God, your heavenly Father?
Jesus tells us in Luke 14:26-27, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.” He goes on to say in verse 33, “So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.”
Now obviously Christ is not asking us to literally hate anyone or abandon our kids. He’s asking us to love Him so much more than anyone else that by comparison, what we feel for others seems like mere hatred. What he wants us to hate is that need to cling to fellow earth dwellers and earthly dwellings.
We tend to get comfortable, reluctant to make waves. And if someone else makes them, we tend to pull back. But Who calms those stormy seas? Who is it that knows what we have need of before we even express it? When we cling to the King, we don’t clutch anything else or anyone else too tightly. When our hope is in Him, that hope does not disappoint
Romans 8:18 says, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Whom shall we fear? What shall we fear? If He will never leave us nor forsake us, then where’s the risk in serving Him and giving ourselves completely to Him?
Paul says in Philippians 1:21, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” The worst-case scenario for unbelievers is to get killed. But for the Christian, this is the best-case scenario because dying means going into His presence forever.
When I was in my early twenties, I remember thinking, I hope the Lord doesn’t come until after I’m married. I’ve got a wedding to plan! And there are countless women right now who are feeling the same way. Some are saying, I hope the Lord doesn’t come yet because my daughter is about to have her first child, and I don’t want to miss that! Others are planning an exciting career change and don’t want Jesus to come back until after that takes place. These events are significant and can bring tremendous joy, but nothing can compare with the joy of going home and seeing the face of our Savior. Oh, to hear His voice and touch those nail-pierced hands!
I remember hearing a young man say, “I’m not coming to Bible study anymore. Every time I get closer to God, something bad happens.” Bad things are going to happen to believers. But it’s all relative, and it all depends on your point of view. Those things that we consider bad are not unbearable if we are fully trusting God to be our covering and our shield. Yes, there is pain involved in following Christ. But the pain for those who die without knowing Him is beyond comprehension.
This life here on earth is a blink of an eye compared to the glorious eternity that awaits believers in Christ.
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)