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Monday, November 10, 2014

Hindrances to Becoming Like Christ, Part 5: Downplaying God’s Word

Kingdom Building.

Simply put: we are either working toward building God’s Kingdom or our own. 

Jesus says, "Anyone who isn't with me opposes me, and anyone who isn't working with me is actually working against meMatt 12:30 NLT (emphasis mine throughout)

You might be thinking, “I go to church, I volunteer, I tithe, I’m not building my own Kingdom more than God’s.”

But God is showing me ways we (me) ARE building our kingdoms more than His.

In Luke 14:33 Jesus says, “So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.”
In this verse Jesus is telling HIS FOLLOWERS to renounce, give away, forsake, and say “goodbye” to the things that possess them otherwise they CANNOT be His disciples. (No minced words there, pretty straight forward)

There are things we all hold onto (technology, check book, drivers license/pass ports, etc). Possessions we all hold dear (cars, homes, boats, cell phones, etc.). Titles we are all proud of (mom, daughter, graduate, etc) People we love more than life itself (children, parents, siblings, etc).

All these are good things. Gifts from God. 

God wants us to enjoy life, to love others, to work hard, to take care of our possessions.

He does NOT want those possessions, gifts, or people to OWN us.

EVERYTHING and EVERYONE belong to Him.

They are in our lives by His will, His grace, and are on “loan” to us. He gave them and He can take them away ("Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.” Job 1:21 NIV)

We cannot hold onto them so tightly that we elevate them higher than God, refusing to let them go, refusing to trust God with them, refusing to praise God more than the things/people in our lives.

"If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters--yes, even their own life--such a person cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26 NIV
Strong’s Concordance defines “hate” in this verse as “loving less” or having a preference for one over another.

Again, these are strong words by Christ.

He is saying nothing, and no one, can come before our devotion to Him. 

His Kingdom, His will, MUST come over our own.

That isn’t the only place Jesus tells His disciples this harsh reality. 

Matt 6:24 Jesus says to those who want to follow Him, "No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

You cannot be holding onto your Kingdom and think you can squeeze into God’s. 

Very plainly, Jesus says you CANNOT serve 2 masters, you CANNOT be His disciple if you don’t love Him more than everything/everyone else, you CANNOT be His follower if you don’t renounce the things that hold onto you.

Matt 7:14, Jesus tells CHRISTIANS, “But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” 

A few verses later Jesus says, "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” Matt 7:21 NIV

How much plainer can He say it? 

The way to heaven is narrow. There are tons of wonderful things in this life, things HE gives you—that satan distorts—that will get in your way of your devotion to Him.

 “Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” Matt 16:24 NKJV
Over and over Jesus is telling His church to DENY themselves. Deny their flesh. Deny the pull possessions have. Deny the lie that says you can “have it all”. 

You cannot live with one foot in the doorway to heaven and one foot in the world. In Rev 3:16 Jesus says He will vomit those people (luke warm Christians) from His mouth. 

It’s time we take God at His Word.

Stop downplaying, distorting, or outright ignoring His Word.

Enjoy life. Enjoy His blessings. But DO NOT let them own you. You were bought at a very high price. You're life is NOT your own. (1 Cor 7:23)

I encourage you to ask yourself, “Do I downplay the meaning of these verses? Do I believe everything He says? Do I justify certain aspects of my life so that I don’t feel the sting of His Words?” 

Lastly: Congrats Betty from Wise Hearted! You won a copy of “A Christmas Chance” by Laura Hodges Poole.Betty, I'll email you soon.

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