The Cost to Follow

God Gold of the day

Now when Jesus saw a crowd around him, he gave orders to go over to the other side. And a scribe came up and said to him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” Another of the disciples said to him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead.””
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭8:18-22‬ ‭

What’s up God Gold family, hope y’all have an awesome day today!!!

Wanted to share a thought with you this morning that really hit me in a very real way in some spots that didn’t feel too good but was much needed! I feel like these moments of conviction while reading God’s Word are like “Grace punches.” What do I mean by that? Well, it’s when the truth of God’s Word opens you up to see just how messed up and inadequate you really are, which is the punch that brings that feeling of conviction and realness to our lives. But they aren’t just punches, they are punches filled with Grace as God opens us up to see the truth of our weakness, by His grace He allows us to learn from His truth even in the midst of realizing our failures so that we don’t have to stay stuck there. He allows us to learn and move forward in the ways He is teaching us here! We all need some grace punches in our lives and I’m excited to share one with you today.

The setting is in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus is in the middle of His ministry on this earth when a scribe comes up to Him and says; “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” What a bold statement to walk up to Jesus and say right? Have you ever made a statement like this to Jesus? I know I have! So many times in prayers I’ve uttered these very words, trying to show Jesus that I’ll do anything, you name it Jesus I got you homie! But the question is, which Jesus challenges us with in these verses, “will we really follow Him wherever He goes?”

Jesus responds in a way that gives this man a peek into what a “Jesus Lifestyle” looks like. Jesus says; “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” Jesus lays it down straight for this eager beaver and shows Him, this lifestyle of following me and living in my ways isn’t easy, it’s actually extremely difficult. Mainly here and throughout these two encounters, Jesus is showing the COST of following Him is not a cheap one by any means. In a way, it’s almost like Jesus is saying; “so this is what it’s like to live in my ways and follow me, so you sure you want to make that bold statement?”

When I read this I immediately found myself relating a lot with this scribe. I’m always trying to say the right things and by that I mean saying what I think Jesus wants to hear but how much do I really mean the words I speak and the promises I make? When we say things like this, am I really willing to follow Jesus wherever He goes? Am I really going to embrace this lifestyle of uncertainty, not knowing where I’ll lay my head down from night to night or if I’ll lay my head down at all? What’s easy is to say things like this but before we decide to make empty promises, we should consider the cost of what that would look like and mean for us to actually walk that out faithfully in our lives!

The cost is shown even more in the next encounter. Once again, a man, it says; “a disciple,” comes up to Jesus and says; “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” When talking about following Jesus the disciple says hold on one minute, let me bury my dead dad real quick and I’ll be right with you. Now that sounds like a pretty good reason to tell Jesus to wait just one second right? I mean burying your father and making sure he is taken care of in our human eyes and the standards of this world is a pretty big deal but look at Jesus’ response.

And Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead.””

WOAH!!! Wow Jesus that’s pretty harsh to say that! That was my first reaction which may be yours too but is it really? What Jesus is saying sounds harsh when we see it in the light of what we think is right and what we see as the right thing to do but the lesson Jesus is teaching us here is far greater than even this task! Jesus is showing us when it comes to following Him, there are ZERO excuses in doing so and there should be nothing that takes higher priority in doing so. The cost of following Jesus is as literal as Jesus is making it out to be, it’s laying down your life and following Him. Sounds like a pretty great cost because it is! To lay down your life means more than to give some of your time or energy towards following Jesus. Laying down your life is laying down EVERYTHING about you, everything in your life. We could argue all day and say but burying your father is pretty important. But once again, this disciple is doing something we too can find ourselves doing on the daily. Jesus calls us to follow Him, to be completely and fully obedient in leaving our old life behind of this world and following Him on an eternal journey that never ends.

This is what struck me along with being really good at saying all the right things and making all the right promises to Jesus. When it comes to the real cost of following Jesus, how many times in my daily life does He make it clear that this is the next step to make, the next right thing to do, the way I should go to be obedient. But then I find myself saying “okay I will do that Jesus but first let me ______ (fill in the blank here with your excuse.) The thing about this disciple’s excuse and ours is so often in our human eyes and compared to what’s right in the world’s perspective, these excuses are “good.” Jesus shows us the way to follow Him but we then step back and choose another way first, our way, and we make up lies in our head that this step we won’t to make instead or this thing we think we should do is a really good reason so it makes it okay to put Jesus in the backseat and tell him I’ll get back to you when I’m finished with this. These excuses we make in our lives that we think are “important” when compared to following the Savior of our lives who Has died to give us victory and freedom in His name. To follow the One who has given us a purpose in the kingdom of God and allowed for us to be adopted as God’s children. When compared to God’s terms in the standards of His Kingdom, no matter what earthly duty comes up, even if it is burying your father, it is not even close!

The cost of following Jesus is that of surrender and obedience, no matter what comes up or what our opinion is, Jesus makes it clear that it takes giving up everything to truly follow after Him! So we have no reason to make empty promises and speak nice sounding words to Jesus without counting the cost first. We have no reason that is more important than following Jesus, even when it sounds like a really good reason at the end of the day it’s just another excuse. Jesus invites us to follow Him, wholly and fully, it will mean laying down our life but when we do that Jesus gives to us life that is so much GREATER and so much more AWESOME than any life this world or we could ever come up with!!! Count the cost, lay the excuses down and follow JESUS!!!! There’s is nothing better you could ever do in your life!!!

TBT: “Obedience Even When It Doesn’t Make Sense”

God Gold of the day

Acts 9:15-18

“But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized; “

It amazes me that Paul and so many other people in the Bible who are so inadequate and sinful are chosen to be tools in the hands of God. Even Ananias was asked to do something that seemed ridiculous and even after questioning, he became obedient and helped give a new life and vision to a man that ended up doing so much for the name of Jesus. It’s so awesome that God does some His biggest works in the situations that seem so messed up or bad. He even mentions how much Paul will suffer for His name and if you look at the times Paul was suffering and going through the worst times, those are the moments that God’s glory is shown the most. Another thing that’s crazy is that Paul hardly questions it, once the presence of the Lord is upon him, he is nothing but obedient and if Ananias wasn’t obedient then we wouldn’t be reading this story. The faith and obedience shown in the most confusing and worst of times turned out to be such a huge Kingdom impact. It’s against our human instincts to want to suffer and be obedient  but if suffering and obedience is what it takes to allow God’s glory and power to be seen at a higher level then why would we not say “bring it on.” I pray that God breaks us, gives us tough and uncomfortable situations that we have to fight to be obedient in so we may have scales fall off our eyes with new vision or that maybe our obedience leads to someone else getting new vision because through the breaking and tearing apart of our flesh, He is molding and shaping us for something much bigger, a life of Kingdom impact here on earth and a life in eternity with Him. You never know how many Paul’s are around you so it’s up to us if we are going to be an Ananias. If we are living for Christ we are going to suffer, it’s up to us how we handle it, we can shy away and let it beat us or we can have faith that God is working it according to His will and be encouragers to each other along the way.

Weird: Day 1

God Gold of the Day

‘Now Elijah, who was from Tishbe in Gilead, told King Ahab, “As surely as the Lord , the God of Israel, lives—the God I serve—there will be no dew or rain during the next few years until I give the word!” Then the Lord said to Elijah, “Go to the east and hide by Kerith Brook, near where it enters the Jordan River.”

1 Kings 17:1-2

I’ve been studying about Elijah lately and am really excited to share with you this extreme amount of Gold that God has uncovered!!! You may have heard of this guy named, “Elijah” before. I mean the dude did some pretty amazing things and is one of those Bible heroes that we look up to. Honestly, I was actually wanting to share of all the cool stuff God did through Elijah because it’s so miraculous and crazy, it’s a story worth telling for sure. But it just didn’t feel right to share with you all that BIG stuff without sharing with you the little stuff, the things Elijah went through to get to those BIG moments in Bible history.

These verses is the first time in the Bible and the people of Israel ever heard the name, “Elijah.” As Elijah is coming on the scene, the nation of Israel is in a time in their history where they are having not just one, but years on years of bad days. One of the main reasons was the fact that they were being ruled by some very evil kings during this time that brought in idols and many other gods into their nation that ended up taking them away from their ONE TRUE God! So things are BAD, like so bad that God becomes so displeased with them He decides to send a drought onto the land that will cause famine for years to come.

ENTER ELIJAH: Elijah comes on the scene as a prophet of the Lord who operates as a spokesman for God to deliver His message to the people. Elijah doesn’t come in quietly though, fulfilling his duty as a prophet, Elijah comes in speaking God’s Word immediately at the start of chapter 17 announcing that there will be a drought until God says otherwise. So as we see that opening statement from Elijah, it’s easy to see that he wasn’t trying to win any “most popular” awards. This action of obedience from Elijah was not well received from the people and it’s king at this time, Ahab.

What a lesson that is for us, being obedient in the name of God and serving God by walking out His Word in our lives, their may not be a big reward for popularity that comes from it. Just as it is in the culture of this time, it stands the same for us today, being obedient to God and speaking His truth goes completely against the popular opinion of the world we live in. You can read the chapters before this and see the evil and hurt that has came upon the nation of Israel in recent years. Although, being obedient may not make you popular, like it sure didn’t for Elijah, it brings God to the world around us, the only cure for all the brokenness and pain that we have in our lives. Hold onto that thought as we move forward because as we travel down the road of obedience with Elijah as our driving example, we’ll see more and more that God is worth the obstacles, detours, and struggle that may come from it.

God doesn’t call us to be popular, He calls us to be obedient. What He can do with our obedience is the most lasting, fulfilling satisfaction and joy we could ever have in our lives! Being popular may bring temporary happiness, but nothing that this world brings amounts to the eternal LIFE that God has for us!

The MAIN LESSON of these next few messages are going to show us that living a life in obedience to God, such as Elijah is going to show us is soooo WEIRD!!! It’s completely different from what the world around us is doing and is extremely unpopular. But to be honest, being “normal” and living lives that are obedient to what everyone else is doing, it’s obviously not working. All the pain, evil, and brokenness in this world, that’s what being normal brings, it just fits in as another messy piece to the mess! We are going to go on a journey to see that being normal and fitting in isn’t working, it’s time to start being weird. And I don’t mean weird in the bad kind of way, actually weird in the God kind of way, standing out from normal. Following God instead of popular opinion, it’s a weird thing to do, it may even feel weird to do at times but let’s learn how to embrace this God kind of weird because normal doesn’t seem to be working!!!

STAY TUNED for tomorrow’s God Gold as we will continue digging into the life of Elijah and pulling out the many Gold nuggets that God has placed there for us!!!