Devotional Discussion Responding to the Call of Jesus.
Need help with my Writing question – I’m studying for my class.
Matthew 16: 24-25
24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.
25 For whoever wants to save their life
will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.
Luke 14: 26-27
26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.
27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
Matthew 19: 21
21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.
2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
9 “This, then, is how you should pray:
Your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
How do you feel about the idea of surrendering to Jesus? As we discussed in last week’s devotional, what Jesus wants is a bride. He doesn’t want to be appreciated, thought of as a nice guy, as a good teacher, loved from afar or to just be friends. He wants a commitment and a covenant with us of permanent relationship and love. Jesus wants all of us; all our hearts, full surrender, holding nothing back.
Jesus made this clear in the things He said to those interested in following him.
“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.
26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. 27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
Jesus did not say these things to scare people, but to make it abundantly clear what kind of relationship He wants with them. Jesus wants us all in. Not sitting on the fence, not sometimes following and sometimes not, but fully committed and fully loving Him until the day we die. When asked what the greatest commandment was, Jesus reminded people that it was to ”Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” (Mark 12:30). Surrender is the starting place of truly following God; being willing to love Him with our feelings, will, desires, thoughts and actions; in other words, with everything that we are; willing to put His will and desires before our own, no matter the cost.
But why does Jesus say these things? Why does He have to be so extreme? Denying myself? Putting Him and His will above all of my own thoughts, behaviors and relationships? Really? Because love always demands that we give all of ourselves in return; body, mind and soul. Holding back is fear, not love. And we can never truly experience the joy and depth of relationship with a loving and holy God until we fully enter in.
Surrendering to anyone can be scary. The good news is that no one has ever been more trustworthy than Jesus and he offers rewards that are worth even following Him to the cross if we have to. As we have seen the last couple of weeks, Jesus truly loves us and has proven his love, trustworthiness and commitment to us beyond measure on the cross. Moreso, He promises that our burdens in Him will be light compared to those of following sin or religion (Matthew 11:30). He is truly worthy of our surrender and invites us to experience the greatest love, purpose and mission we could ever find in our lives. So what about you? Are you ready to be all in?
I’d Rather Have Jesus
I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold;
I’d rather be His than have riches untold;
I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands.
I’d rather be led by His nail pierced hand
Than to be the king of a vast domain
Or be held in sin’s dread sway.
I’d rather have Jesus than anything
This world affords today.
I’d rather have Jesus than men’s applause;
I’d rather be faithful to His dear cause;
I’d rather have Jesus than worldwide fame.
I’d rather be true to His holy name
He’s fairer than lilies of rarest bloom;
He’s sweeter than honey from out the comb;
He’s all that my hungering spirit needs.
I’d rather have Jesus and let Him lead
Jesus, help me to understand how much you love and value me and all those you made that I might be unafraid to surrender and follow. You wanting all of me is a good thing. Help me to understand that there is nothing greater than living with and for you who are the way, the truth and the life. Amen.
- Review the rubric to make sure you understand the criteria for earning your grade.
- Read the words of the hymn out loud, reflecting and using it as a prayer as you consider its meaning and message.
- Respond to the following questions by posting your answers in the discussion.
- What does the idea of living a life surrendered to Christ mean to you?
- As we have seen, Christianity is different from all other religions and worldviews because it is about a person, real and alive who we are called to love, relate to and live for. If Jesus isn’t alive than Christianity is just about ideas from another dead guy. However, if Jesus is alive and real right now – someone we live in relationship with and surrender to, than what do you think that might look like for you specifically as you practice social work?
- The words of the hymn this week reflect on wanting Jesus more than other things. As you think about this idea, honestly consider the things that you desire. Are you willing to surrender them for the sake of Christ and his love or call? Where do you struggle to take up your cross and follow or put His ways above your own? Describe what you might need to understand more about Jesus to make that issue, thing or relationship something you can surrender.