Leave it all behind. Jesus said “Pick up your cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24) Leave your brothers or sisters or fathers or mothers or children or fields for my sake and you will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.” (Matthew 19:29) Leave it all behind and pick up your cross and follow me.
What is the cost to follow Jesus Christ? Paul states in 2Timothy 4:8 now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day – and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for His appearing. The Holy Spirit witness to Paul that a crown of righteousness was his for staying faithful to the Lord and to the gospel.
While we wait for the blessed hope – the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good. (Titus 2:13-14)
Are you eager to do what is good and right before the Lord Jesus Christ? Are you having trouble leaving it all behind? Have you replace the Lord with another love that is stronger than you? In the Old Testament in Genesis 29 Leah was Jacob’s first wife because her father tricked Jacob into marrying her. Jacob wanted Rachel but was given Leah. Leah became pregnant and she thought Jacob will love me now because a son was born. But, no Jacob did not love her and this hope of her husband desiring her continue until Leah cried out to the God and God saw her pain. See Leah was striving to be loved and she felt incomplete without his love. Leah tried for 10-15 years to get her husband’s love but something happen in her heart that turned her life around. Leah became pregnant a fourth time and during her pregnancy she began to seek the LORD for Himself. Leah fell in love with the LORD and when she gave birth to her son she said, “This time I will praise the Lord.” She named her son ‘Judah’ which means praise. Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but longing fulfilled is a tree of life. (Proverbs 13:12) All your worrying about your family and friends just makes you sick because you deferring your hope somewhere other than the Lord. Once you put all your hope in the Lord you become a well spring tree of life.
Seek the Lord for Himself and not what you can get from Him. Have your desires become your gods? Do you desire wealth and everything that comes with it? Are these desires ruling you this day? If this desire is the reason you follow Jesus Christ so that He will give you your desires then your life will not change. Look again at Leah’s story with Jacob; her life was miserable it wasn’t changing until she left it all behind. She left those feelings of ever becoming complete with Jacob and gave her life completely to God. What did God do for Leah? After Leah and Rachel had died Jacob was dying he told his sons. “I am about to be gathered to my people; bury me with my fathers in the cave…which Abraham bought…for a burial site. There they burden Abraham and his wife Sarah, there they buried Isaac and his wife Rebekah, and there I buried Leah.” (Genesis 49:29-31) “…there I buried Leah.” The LORD was looking out for Leah and Jacob came to love Leah. The Lord can do remarkable things for the ones He loves when we do not defer our hope to others. Delight yourself in the LORD; and He will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4)
Leave it all behind…Pick up your cross and follow me. (Matthew 16:24) How did Paul remain faithful to the Lord and the gospel? The Lord gave the Holy Spirit to His followers. Jesus says to His disciples “Now I am going to Him who sent me, yet none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ Because I have said these things, you are filled with grief. But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned. (John 16:5-11) The Lord had to leave because the Holy Spirit comes to live inside of us. The Holy Spirit came to convict us of sin in our lives so that we will turn to Jesus Christ for forgiveness. The Holy Spirit witnesses on righteousness: that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who died and was resurrected, justified and Lord of all. Holy Spirit shows us what sin is and how to overcome the world. The Holy Spirit witnesses judgment: Satan’s defeat at the cross (John 12:31), world’s judgment (Romans 1:18-32), and future judgment (Matthew 16:27). The indwelling of the Holy Spirit in Paul’s life is the reason that Paul was able to stay faithful.
Thank you Father, for your Son who died and rose on the third day; so that you could send the Holy Spirit to us. Thank you, Jesus Christ for your sacrifice for me that has brought me so much victory. Who would ever dream that I could have so much love in my life? Thank you for convicting my heart that I was deferring my hope to something else. You complete me Lord we look nowhere else but to you. There is no one like you in all the earth. We seek you no other person or thing will distract us from you. You are our all in all and forgive us for using you for stuff…forgive us for loving family, friends, church, and things more than you. Help us leave behind people and things that have become our idols and pick up our cross and follow you. Protect our hearts from the evil ones and bullies in our life. I pray that our sense of fulfillment comes from you Lord and that we will delight in you. Create in us a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you. (Psalm 51:10-13) In Jesus Christ name. Amen.