Who doesn’t want to be liked? But, living for what others think to be liked is a bondage that will make us sad and trite. Believe me! If we want to become truly dynamic life-changing people, we have to be willing to lay down the “mindset of the times”, follow and speak the Truth only. (We also desperately need to learn to do it in God’s way and timing.) If we allow God to shape our beliefs, no matter how unpopular the belief is, we can know wholeness. And, like John the Baptist, if we are brave enough to stand up for Truth, we can help lead others to wholeness too. Bottom line will we allow only the Word of God to shape us or will we let the foundation of our beliefs bend to what people think? Jesus was liked so much on Earth that they crucified Him! But, by his precious sacrifice the whole world can be saved! Now, that is worth not being liked for!
The Cost of Greatness: to be despised, rejected, stricken, made to suffer, pierced, crushed, unfairly punished, oppressed, afflicted, given over to one’s enemies and falsely accused all the while silently bearing it.
Isaiah 53 is the Great Necessary Cost to becoming like Jesus. There is no higher calling, no greater honor or greater reward to be given to those who choose to lay down their lives in this way.
There is kind of sacrifice the world will never understand, a kind of obedience to God that is crazy, no insane! You can see it in the Bible over and over. Only those who truly know God can follow such a calling and only those who truly love Him will. Any person can choose this greatness. God freely gives the power and grace to anyone courageous enough to seek it. But, let me say if you choose to walk down this road, many men will rise up against you. Many “Christians” will oppose you and call your devotion foolishness. Jesus said, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.” Paul says “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” Don’t waste your life and your reward in heaven following your flesh. You were made for greatness!
Which life do you think God can use more: one who has only known beauty, pleasure and recognition or one who is familiar with suffering, ridicule and belittlement? Which person has more depth, more wisdom and more strength for others to drawl from? Many flaunt their status and wealth as proof that they are special. But, I say God has favored the one who is lonely, cold, beaten and cast down. Have you been favored?
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
The only thing we can take with us to heaven is our hearts. Therefore, the greatest gifts are the ones that shape it. The trials that stretch us, prune us and chisel us inside, these are the most beautiful gifts of love! And, the hotter it is, the greater the gift!!! Rejoice always and again I say rejoice for the Lord is making His bride beautiful!!!
Sin isn’t a germ you catch in the bathroom at Target. Sin is a choice. Once I understood this, it set me free! “What? I don’t have to be a slave to sin?! I can simply chose to do what’s right!” God makes a way every time! THROUGH the power of His Holy Spirit, He offers us freedom! All we have to do is chose to rely on that power! THAT IS the GRACE of GOD!
Jesus was the most secure and confident man to walk the planet. He knew He was the Son of God and yet, He was the most humble and meek. He chose to be the servant of all. He was not threatened by earthly men and their earthy kingdoms. He knew His place and reward in Heaven was safe. When we know who we are, we can be secure that God will promote and reward us in His timing. Spiritual competition comes out of insecurity. We do not have to clamor for promotion, the praise of man and climb the spiritual ladder. We can rest knowing God perfectly dispenses His rewards in His perfect timing. But here’s the test, it is often way past the time we think He should. Will we be faithful and wait? Will we give, pray and serve in secret without earthly recognition?
But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. Matthew 6:6