Luke 14:27-35 “And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’ “Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.
In John 7:17 Jesus said, “Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.” Have you experienced that Jesus is real? Have you seen countless specific prayers get answered? Does God speak to you daily? Do people notice something different about you? Is your fruit evident for all to see and is it changing lives? Is your old nature gone? God’s Spirit testifies to me that the majority can’t answer yes to these questions. Estimates have the world’s Christian population somewhere between 2.2 and 2.4 billion people. How many of that great multitude truly know God? Jesus said that He will tell many Christians He never knew them (Matthew 7:21-23) and that only a few would find Him (Matthew 7:14). How has satan so convinced the modern church that getting into heaven is without sacrifice when Jesus said we must die?
In the book of Acts, a man named Simon amazed crowds of people with his sorcery, a power that comes from demons. But when Simon met Philip he believed in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and was baptized. Simon followed Philip everywhere he went and he was astonished of the power Philip possessed (Acts 8:9-13). Even though Simon believed and was baptized, his heart was not right. Peter called him out for being captive to sin and full of bitterness and separated him from the group (Acts 8:21-23). Simon did not love God; He loved what He thought he could get from Him. Most believers’ lips would say I am nothing like Simon and I love God, but what does their life say? Are they still living to see what they can get, are they still captive to sin, or is their every thought and desire to do the will of God?
I once was a deceived believer. I dare not call myself a Christian at that time because I didn’t have much of a relationship with God until after my first wife died. Sure I cried out to Him for His help but I didn’t obey His teachings like I should. I still had one foot in the world so I didn’t see Him working much in my life. But during my grief I died to myself and because I dropped to my knees in total submission, He began to give me a whole new nature. It was at this time that God began speaking to me like never before.
It’s been a journey since I became a born again, spirit filled Christian and like a fool, I have strayed many times through the years. But one thing is certain, when I am following Jesus, when I am obeying all of His teachings, Jesus shows Himself to me in incredible, undeniable ways. John 7:17 has been proven true over, and over, and over again. I am so thankful for God’s mercy and for Him welcoming me back home time and time again. And if He has done that for me, how can I not have the same love and mercy for others that sin against me?
It can be really easy to get caught up with the status quo of everything around us. But don’t let all you have ever known determine what you do today and where you go tomorrow. If something is normal or accepted in this world it should cause us some concern because this world is evil. A Christian was never called to be normal. We are supposed to live a different life.
If you want to know if your heart is right before God, or more specifically if you even know God, ask yourself a few questions. I know from my own personal experiences that it is entirely possible to know of God, attend church, pray, and serve, yet not know or be known by God. That was me. If you believe in God it is because He chose you to be His bride. But like any husband, He wants us to be pure for Him only. He wants us to choose Him. If we choose Him we will desire Him with all our hearts and the world and its desires will fade. In a marriage we show our spouse love by what we do, what we think about, and how we spend our time and money. God is no different. Does your life say I love you God, or does it say I love myself?
Do I want a bigger or nicer house or a better relationship with God?
Do I want a nicer, newer car or do I want to understand God’s word more?
Do I want to have more activities and fun or do I want to know God’s will?
Do I get more upset about my team losing and missing out on a good time, or am I more upset when the day is over and I realize I haven’t read my Bible or I missed out on my normal prayer time?
Am I perfectly content with my life or do I often ask God to make me more comfortable?
Do I dream about vacations or do I dream of spending eternity with God?
Do you desire short term pleasure or everlasting joy?
Do I get upset that I don’t have enough money to get or enough money to give?
If you were convicted with any of the questions above fall at Jesus’s feet and plead for mercy. Ask Him to have His way in your life. May you be filled with peace and joy and with spiritual wisdom that only comes from Jesus Christ.
1 John 2:17 “The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”