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Nothing Else Is More Valuable - Forward with Back to the Bible - December 21

  • 2021 Dec 21

Nothing Else Is More Valuable

December 21

Read Luke 14:25-30 (ESV) 

Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brother and sisters, yes and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’”

Reflect

Salvation is a free gift of God, but does following Jesus cost us something? Have you become more aware of this cost in recent months?

For many years in the US, Christianity was widely accepted in mainstream culture. Because of that, there wasn’t too much pushback on believers. Religious freedom flourished and Christians were mostly protected from persecution. Further, while many may have only been Christians in name only, or “cultural Christians,” it was generally considered acceptable to be a Christian and hold conservative moral values based on the Bible. Even people who disregarded the spiritual truth of the Bible tended to view Christians as good, moral people and left them alone. In fact, many of the institutions in the United States were founded on Biblical principles!

But if you are taking the temperature of the culture regarding Christianity today in the US today, you are probably realizing that this acceptance and widespread tolerance of Christianity and the Bible is waning at an incredible rate. We are not experiencing severe persecution. But, there is hostility in the air. Many of us sense it and feel a change coming. We see evidence of it on social media, in the news, in the courtroom, in our schools, in our universities, and in our workplaces. It seems as if there is a new challenge to Christian values for Americans every single day.

That is why, in today’s verses, Jesus said that we have to hate our families and our lives if we are going to love Him and follow after Him. How can He say that? Well, He didn’t mean to literally hate our families. He meant that we are to love Him so much that it seems as if we hate everything else by comparison. That means that we love Him more than we love our parents, spouse, and yes, even our own children. It means we will remain more faithful to Him than to our employers. It means that we seek His approval more than the approval of our friends or the culture.

This is a tough teaching. It’s a strong word! That is why Jesus went on to say that we have to take up our cross if we want to follow Him. But first, we need to count the cost. Many people believe in the heat of the moment. They accept Christ as an emotional response to the Gospel. But as soon as being a Christian begins to cost them something, they start to second-guess their decision. If they are not fully committed to Christ, when the going gets tough, they will likely fall away. They didn’t count the cost before making the commitment and now, they aren’t finishing what they started.

Jesus is asking if we are willing to suffer for Him. Will we carry our own cross? Are you seeking to please your spouse or Jesus? If your child comes home from college and has decided they won’t have anything to do with you unless you denounce the “hateful” teachings of Scripture, what do you do? If your employee pits your Biblical beliefs against your job, how do you respond? Are you ready to be canceled by the culture? What if it’s your very life on the line?

Friends, I am not writing this to increase your anxiety but rather, I am writing this to spur you on! For so long, many Christians have been able to coast. But Jesus has called us to something deeper and much more powerful and meaningful than we can ever imagine. He requires a total commitment but He is worth it. Nothing else is more valuable than a relationship with Jesus Christ. “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him…” (Philippians 3:8-9a).

Pray

Jesus, help me to love You above all else. Help me to rightly prioritize my life so that You are my first priority. Nothing and no one is more valuable than You. Amen.

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