Tuesday, January 15, 2013

To be fully committed: keep watch and pray

"If you want to be My disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison—your father and mother, [spouse] and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life."
-Luke 14:26

Jesus was quite popular and had a large crowd of people following Him around.  I'm sure some people were sort of "star struck" and proclaimed they'd follow Him to the ends of the earth. (Even Peter said he'd be willing to die with Jesus.)  But Jesus knew that fair-weather, half-hearted disciples would be ineffective—so He made it clear that His true followers would need to be so committed to Him, it would appear as though they hated everyone and everything else in comparison.

What caught my eye about the verse above was the "even your own life" part. As I take a few moments to ponder it, I see I spend a fair amount of time/effort trying to make my life as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. I recognize this because of the displeasure I feel when my life seems "too hard" (hah! seriously?!), too unpleasant from dealing with whining/arguing children, and full of thoughts of "when can I get some me-time" to read, exercise, be on the computer, veg in front of a movie, etc.  And this is often. When I am so consumed with what I perceive are "my needs", how can I really be sold out for the Lord?

I am reminded of Matthew 26:41 where Jesus says, "Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak."  In my heart of hearts (my spirit), it is Jesus I desire more than anything else!  Nothing is worth living for besides Him!  But I am self-centered and weak (my flesh). I want extended amounts of leisure and pleasure, and no harassment.  This is not reality for a follower of Christ.  Not that it's all drudgery! But it is hard work, and it takes perseverance and perspective.  Jesus said, "If any of you wants to be My follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow Me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for My sake, you will find true life" (Luke 9:23-24).

So, the antidote for a half-hearted pursuit of Him and the temptation to create (and worship) a comfortable life: keep watch [keep eyes on Him] and pray!

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