Last week we began looking at Luke 9:23 “Then he [Jesus] said to them all: Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” Too often we like to think that we can treat Jesus like an “add on” to our lives. We can chase after the world and still love Jesus, can’t we? It’s ok, right? I mean, everyone’s doing it.
It’s true, a lot of people are doing it, but Jesus basically told us that following Him was an all or nothing deal. He is not going to tolerate being an add on. Don’t believe me? Take a look at Luke 14:26-27 where Jesus is talking and says to the large crowds following Him: “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. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”
Does God really want us to hate people? No. He wants us to love them, BUT He wants us to love Him more! You see, we have to be willing to lose everything in order to follow Jesus: friends, spouses, parents, children, siblings and even our own lives.
Remember that concept I called “The Totality of Scripture” last week? This is where there is a constant theme running through scripture. With that concept in mind take a look at the story of the rich young ruler: Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”
“Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.” “Which ones?” he inquired.
Jesus replied, “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’”
“All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?” Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
Did Jesus hate rich people? No, He just knows that no one can serve two masters. In Matthew 6:24 Jesus says: “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 can’t chase after the world AND God. You only get to choose one or the other. It’s easy to SAY “I will choose God!” But the real question is: “Which one does your daily life show you are chasing?”
Challenge For The Week: Pay attention to the activities you are involved in, and the things you talk about when you are with your friends. Which one does your daily life show YOU are chasing after?