Monday, January 21, 2013

Playing It Safe

     This morning as I was a reading Scripture, a verse seemed to jump out at me.  It is found in Luke 9:23:  "Jesus said, 'If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.'"  Now that is a simple and straightforward verse of scripture.  But think about for a moment.  What exactly does it cost to be a Christian?
     Let me share an example.  Our family loves to play games.  We have a large number of board games and card games in our home, and each time the family gathers we like to sit and play them.  However, during the game, one or more of our family will often say, "If I move there, I might not win or if I go there, I will be out!"  Of course, part of playing any game is taking some chances or risks.  There is a fifty/fifty chance of winning or losing.  In many ways, the Christian life is not so much different.  You can either stay safe in a little, warm cocoon or you can step out in faith and go where the Lord leads you.  Is there a cost or risk?  Yes, but the rewards are eternal in nature!
     When Jesus tells us to pick up our cross and follow Him...we have to do it daily in order to grow and move in the Lord.  We have to put aside "self" and our wants and desires; however, when we do, the Lord's paycheck is so much richer than even our fondest of dreams.  This verse greatly comforted me as we had a rough week last week.  Many of you could probably say the same, but without Christ our week would have been much harder to bear.
      There are times when we have to put aside our plans, our wishes and our desires in order to follow the path the Lord has laid before us.  Nevertheless, when we do this for the sake of God's glory, we will find a deep satisfaction in having obeyed Him.  This is why I love the verse found in Jeremiah 29:11:  "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord.  Plans to prosper you and not harm you.  Plans to give you hope and a good future."
     When we take up our cross daily and deny our self interest, we will find the abundant life that Jesus came to give us.  We can either play it safe or we can step out in faith trusting God to direct our steps.  May we be bold in Christ who died for our sins and follow Him no matter where we leads!  Selah!

Have you stepped out of your comfort zone to follow Christ?  What happened?  I welcome your thoughts here.

Picture courtesy of Kokoo at Wikipedia Commons (public domain picture).

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