Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Follow Jesus' Call

I don’t follow Jesus the way I should. I hesitate and question, which means I don’t live by faith. It is frustrating, but it is also comfortable. When I don’t live by faith then I don’t have to hard things that would push me outside of my comfort zone. I am convinced that we don’t follow Jesus because we don’t want to take the risk faith requires.

Take a moment and consider what Erwin McManus wrote:
“Just do whatever Jesus calls you to do the moment it is clear to you. Do not procrastinate; do not hesitate, do not deviate from whatever course of action He calls you to. But I want to warn you, the closer you walk with Christ, the greater the faith required. The more you trust Him, the more you’ll risk on His behalf. The more you love Him, the more you will love others. If you genuinely embrace His sacrifice, you will joyfully embrace a sacrificial life. Your expectations of Jesus will change as your intimacy with Him deepens.” (The Barbarian Way, p. 53)

If we want to live a life which brings honor to God, this is how we must live. When we pledge our lives to Jesus, then our honor is bound to our obedience. It isn’t enough that we don’t do wrong, but we must also seek to do right. One of the motivations in our lives must be not to do anything that will bring us shame. That is one of the motivations for the apostle Paul.
20 This is according to my eager expectation and hope that I will have nothing to be ashamed of. Instead, because of my boldness Christ will be exalted in my body, now as always, whether I live or die. (Philippians 1:20; ISV)

One of the things we need to remember as we look at this verse is that Paul lived in a culture where honor was bound to fulfilling his responsibility, and in battle, to fighting with courage. When Paul says that he has nothing to be ashamed of, he is not talking about doing something that is embarrassing or living a double life of sin. What he means is that he has lived a life of courage (boldness) which has brought honor to his master, Christ Jesus.

It would have been shameful for Paul to have quit preaching the gospel because he feared prison and death. The court trials, the imprisonments, and the beatings were badges of honor that Paul wore with pride because he bravely followed Jesus.

We have lost that sense of honor in our culture. Yet, I believe that it is essential for us to understand if we are going to live the Christian life. Our lives aren’t our own, they belong to Jesus. Our honor is tied to our obedience to Him. We can live a life of perfect morality, but if we are cowards then we will not bring the honor to Jesus that He deserves. May we continually follow Jesus regardless of the risk.

Grant us the strength, Father, to live honorably for Your Son, Jesus.

  • Point to Ponder: Our honor is tied to our obedience to Jesus.
  • Passage to Remember: Philippians 1:20
  • Question to Consider: Are you living courageously for Jesus?

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