It's not what I have[.] It's what I have to give. A blog about resources--gaining, giving, and sharing.

17 January 2011

Following Jesus Requires Sacrifice – pt. 2

6:02 AM Posted by steve flores , , No comments
[Matthew 16:21-26] We’ve made Jesus a hostage to our demands.  Many Christians believe their words are more important than His words and sometimes mistake sacrifice as punishment, as if we’ve done something wrong to deserve this sacrifice.  I’ve heard people say this to me, “I don’t understand.  I’ve been praying more, reading my Bible more, I’ve been seeking God and still bad things are happening to me.  It just doesn’t seem worth it.”
·         I’m going to church more than hanging out with bad friends– but I’m still getting in trouble, so what’s the use?
·         I’m praying more rather than watching TV– but my boyfriend/husband still decided to cheat on me.
·         I decided to join the challenge and read the Bible more – but my mom and dad are still yelling at me, things still aren’t looking up.

In each of these examples, who is the focus?  ME.  When struggles come, we give up, because He didn’t answer ME the way I asked Him to answer.  Here’s a newsflash: Following Jesus has less to do about me and more to do about Him.  If you struggle with that, then you will have difficulty following Him.  Following Jesus requires sacrifice and it’s not a fun topic to cover.

First thing we have to understand is that we don’t know what sacrifice is.  I think not having an iPad, money for the movies, not having a ton of cable channels, or not having a texting plan is a sacrifice.  If 100 people represented the world’s population, 53 of those would live on less than $2 a day.  Buying a combo meal at McDonald’s is about 3 day’s wages for a majority of the people in the world!   We’re still one of richest people in the world. You may not think so, but when I asked our students in the inner city of Little Rock what they received for Christmas, I was surprised by their answers.  They responded with Xbox Kinects, Wii’s, designer clothing, etc.  That just doesn’t happen in some places of our world – an Xbox won’t feed them, a Wii won’t give them clean drinking water, and they don’t care the brand, they just want shoes for their feet.  Because of what we’re surrounded with, when we don’t get what others have, we feel like we’re sacrificing.  We consider that suffering, like Jesus isn’t listening to us when we pray.
Here are Jesus’ words.  We find them in the book of Matthew 16, verse 21, 

From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.

Imagine if one of your closest friends said this to you…(to be continued…)