THE WORDS OF JESUS
CRY OUT AGAINST ME
Lk.14: 33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.
This morning as I ponder these words I am truly wondering if I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. My study of the teachings of Jesus has taken an unexpected turn. I am becoming very uncomfortable and even undone. I must fast and pray. So much that I post cries out against me.I will have been saved for forty years this March. I have seen other people saved under my witness, I have experienced God’s wonderful presence, and I have read His Word many times. But as I reread His words I cannot help but confess I am wading into convicting waters. I do not mean some slight “I am far from perfect” waters. I already knew that. But I am now faced with some unimaginable truth which when taken without compromise from His lips indicts me on so many levels. It has always been serious to me, but now it is very serious about me. I rejoice in the Spirit’s dealings with me, but I also am partially broken as well. I do not relish being utterly and completely broken, but I desire it.
Where to start. I feel as though I need to go back to the very beginning when on a star filled night in March of 1975 I was born again. I was filled with many different emotions, but the overwhelming emotion inside was on that night I KNEW that Jesus was real! I was a babe in Christ but I knew Christ and it filled me with joy and wonder. And today I wonder where that all went. Am I now too sophisticated for such childish things? Or has the organization called the “church” molded me in such a way that I have been kept from the simplicity and the clear mandates of Christ? I have no one to blame but myself.
I am not attempting to be melodramatic. I am sharing my heart with you. I truly desire to follow Jesus and yet His teachings openly declare in so many ways I am not. Can you imagine such a thing? Me, a preacher and Bible teacher is really not following Jesus according to His own words. You see if we truly desire to follow Jesus and be His disciple we must allow His words alone to define and illuminate that path. And as I have read over many of His words I have come to understand just how profoundly we have changed His words into ours. And with that bubbling up inside me I just could not sleep well last night. That may be a continuing phenomenon for a while.
But I believe the question that must be answered by all of us, me especially, is do I really and sincerely and passionately desire to follow Jesus? What a question! That question should find a regular and powerful place behind evangelical pulpits, however it is much too revolutionary and fanatical for the modern taste. But I have heard it through the Spirit, and lest I am found lying to the Holy Spirit, I cannot answer it with confidence. I never dreamed that I would be the object of the Spirit’s conviction during this study at least not on this unnerving level. I do not expect much company and I do not demand anything from anyone except myself.
Forsake all? That phrase, if taken literally, should disarm us and send us to prayer to seek the Spirit’s mind. Sure it doesn’t mean food or water or clothing or even shelter. But after that what does it mean? My flesh has no appetite for such things and I can easily pen a few words which are sufficient for a comfortable assessment. But what is that to our Lord? And if we place scores of verses throughout the New Testament underneath “forsake all” we will find the Spirit speaking clearly. Let us be honest here, we are not in danger of forsaking too much.
So here I am. Like a starving man crying out for a morsel of food or a drink of water. As I take inventory of my own boat I see many, many things that need to be thrown overboard forever. The deck is cluttered with carnal chairs and the cabin is filled with pleasures. I do not wish to create a self serving flagellation. I just desire to follow Jesus. I now have some idea that I have far to go. Just how far only the Spirit knows.