When I gave my life to Christ Jesus and began to truly walk in that Faith, there was in me a progression of “Love gestures” is the only way that I can describe it, that followed. They started by simple acts of service at my local church body where I would go every Sunday morning and serve religiously if you’ll pardon the term, and next a baptism and so on. I gave the Lord my heart. I gave Him my will. I gave Him my career and family because He had asked for it and I Love Him. The Lord drew near to me as I drew near to Him. The force of the proximity of His Glory began to drive out the imperfection in me, leaving in me at times a fractured man, but always with that came the healing power of the Holy Spirit to rebuild that portion in me in to the likeness of His Image. And so it went and continues so even as I write this blog. Praise be to God!
When I was called in to ministry with my family, Sarah and I prayed and accepted the Lord’s call on our lives with Joy and Gladness in our hearts, excited that the Lord wished to use us and found us worthy in His sight to be His servants and expand His Kingdom. What I quickly realized is that the Lord really wants a willing heart to Love Him and be obedient to His Will. For some this picture looks like a dutiful father, going to work, providing for his family or perhaps a stay at home mom working to potty train her cantankerous two year old. But the Lord will ask what He will ask of whom He will ask it. That is to say, I was and am prepared to be a dutiful father. I am prepared to be a stay at home dad or a front line missionary should the Lord wish it, but I haven’t always been at this place in my heart. The process that I have described above has been what the Lord has used in me in order to prepare me to accept His Will for my life and for the lives of my family.
The Kingdom of God is a strange beast to look at and consider when you compare it to the world as we commonly know it. I guess that is why so many people think that Christian’s are a bit nutty some of the time. The Lord uses the foolish things if this world to confound the wise and I realized just why that is. Because with human wisdom comes the danger of self reliance and a forsaking of true reliance on the Lord. Faith can be interchanged with reliance here easily but the point is, the Lord nullified human wisdom by the way that He has chosen to advance His Kingdom which, as it happens goes contrary to conventional worldly logic. His way requires Faith in Him predicated on Love. Love which every professing Christian should have for His Son if for no other reason than for what our Savior has done for us on the Cross.
So, depending on your obedience and submission to the Lord, your walk of Faith may take on different degrees of weirdness to those around you. When I consider Jesus’s own experiences with this, He expected that it would galvanize people into one of two responses. Those who heard His Father and listend and those who didn’t. In those who heard and listened, this produced the fruit of salvation and obedience. In those who didn’t, it produced an open hostility toward’s the Lord and the Kingdom of God. This is the true cost of discipleship. You must give up the world. In 1 John 5:3-4 it says:
“In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.” But there is also a “luke warm” posture taken by some believers which the Lord warns against that must be watched for and guarded against.
My walk of Faith has cost me many relationships, a career, an entire lifestyle and even my very person. These which I gladly give up for the Lord are nothing to me because I love Him who Saved me. That is why I said Faith in Him predicated on Love. This is after all a relationship. But do not be deceived. To follow the Lord is to walk as a Son or Daughter of the King. And if you seek first the Kingdom of God as a good and obedient Child of God should, the Kingdom will intersect with the world in your life and the Kingdom overcomes violently.
Some get close to this heat and put the breaks on the relationship. Some close their eyes and try to push their way through and may be successful to a point. But hear this: If you do this, the Lord will ask something of you which will be beyond your ability to be obedient to Him unless you have sufficient Faith because the personal cost to you will be too high. “‘You do not want to leave too, do you?’ Jesus asked the Twelve.” John 6:67 The only way to walk this walk is by Faith in the Lord’s Love for you, Faith in His character, Faith in what Jesus has done for us on the Cross, Faith in the fact that God is who he says He is (I Am that I Am).
Eventually a decision will need to be made in everyone’s heart as to how far to walk with the Lord. Some just say no to the Lord. Some say: I’m saved. That’s far enough. I call this stopping at the Cross. Some go a little farther than this even. But don’t forget beloved, there was also a resurrection! And the beauty of this is that there is no end to where we can go with Christ. Don’t just die with Christ in this life but Live! I assure you, the worldly cost to you will pale when compared to the fullness of a Loving relationship with Jesus. But you really don’t have to take my word for it if you don’t want to, you can pray to Him and read His Word and find out. I pray that you pursue the Lord with all your heart and with all your mind and with all your strength and Love your neighbor as yourselves. “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:1