Follow Jesus

This is from Matthew 4:18-22. You can read it here.

There is a difference in being called, and answering the call. Just because Jesus calls for you, does not mean you respond and follow. When He calls He gives you the opportunity to respond, but you are the one that has to go to the call. Jesus is always calling you throughout your life. He calls you from one place, to another place, to another place, etc. He never stops calling you, but not everyone answers the call. Jesus said whosoever will come, let him deny himself and follow me. So anyone can answer the call. The rich or poor, healthy or sick, CEO or unemployed, young or old, it does not matter; however, not everyone will follow because not everyone is willing to deny their own dream, their own wants, or what they had in their own mind to follow the call which put simply is to follow the one who calls.

The first disciples were out living their everyday life just as we do when Jesus came along, and called them saying follow me. Jesus called, and the response from the disciples was to immediately follow Him. They immediately left their families, friends, jobs, their whole life to follow Jesus. They gave up anything and everything to answer the call. This is what the rich young ruler did not do. He got the same call, it just looked a little different because he lived a different life. Jesus said sell your stuff, and follow me; however, the young ruler went away sad because he was not willing to give up his security to follow Jesus. The call to follow, and actually following are two different things. Are you willing to give it all up to follow Jesus? Jesus said in the same parable of the rich young ruler that those who do will be repaid many times over in this life, and have eternal life in the age to come.

Encounters with Jesus seem to cause immediatelies. These disciples immediately left everything. When Paul had his encounter with Jesus on the Damascus road, he immediately began to preach Jesus Christ. When you have your own encounters with Christ it can cause immediatelies in your own life. You may immediately be saved, baptized, healed, set free, or have some other victory. Encounters with Jesus will change you, and that is the next point.

Jesus told these disciples, I will make you. If you do respond to His call then He will make you. This is a continuous transformation process that is not always easy. It will be uncomfortable because He is changing you. As long as you are following, He is changing and making you. If you follow Jesus He can make you a godly person, spouse, and parent. He will make you victorious. He will make you who He has called you to be whether that is a missionary, apostle, CEO, or small business owner.

Jesus told these fishermen that He would make them fishers of men. He just took what they did, and brought them into alignment with Him. He is more concerned about who you are becoming, than what you are doing. The skills, lessons, and everything else they learned as fishermen were just preparation for what He was calling them to step into. However, He took them from a place of comfort and moved them into uncertainty.

Jesus looked at Peter and basically told him that even though he had been a fishermen all of his life, He was changing his name, making him a preacher, and the foundation of His church. You may be scared, you may think it’s too big, you may think you don’t know how, and you may say you can’t, but if you will FOLLOW ME and TRUST ME then I will make you.

He’s not calling you to do something that you think you can do. He’s called you to do what He has placed in you to do, and to cry out to Him knowing that you can not do it without Him. He is calling you to do something that requires you to look to Him to carry you. He is going to lead you into situations that challenge you greatly, and make you cry out for Him because He is changing you. Peter wasn’t a water walker until he was greatly afraid with waves crashing into his boat thinking that he was staring at a ghost. However, there was a call. Jesus simply looked at him and said COME. Peter immediately got out of the boat and walked on the water, and when he got out in the middle between the boat and Jesus he became distracted by his fear, and he called out to Jesus who picked him up out of his struggle. Jesus may let you sink so that you can learn the lesson, grow, and be changed; however, He will never let you drown.

Answering the call, and following is your job. Making you is His job. All you have to do is follow, and let Him. You don’t have to try to make yourself anything. In reality that is one of our biggest problems as people. We try to be autonomous and create our own dreams, visions, and life stories, but if you are following Jesus you left all that in the boat the day you dropped everything to follow Him. He will make you who He has called you to be. Trust and follow the only one who knows the beginning from the end. His plan for you is better than anything you can come up with, and He will make into someone better than you could ever envision.

Follow Jesus, and live your life Kingdom first!

Levi

 

 

 

 

 

How much time are you spending in the word of God?

When was the last time you opened your bible outside of church? When was the last time you got in the word just because you wanted to pursue, and know your Father? If you want to live your life kingdom first it will require you to seek Him, and His kingdom everyday simply because you want to know Him more, and understand His will for your life.

I think it is important to recognize, and understand that we are taking something in everyday even if it is subconsciously. For example, the culture around us is marketing to the level that the average person sees about 5,000 ads per day which adds up to about 2 million per year. This staggering number does not include watching, or scrolling through the news online. So we are clearly taking things in everyday whether we realize it or not. These marketing campaigns are meant to steer your thoughts, choices, decisions, goals, plans, vision, and ultimately your life. In understanding that I would say it is that much more important that we choose to spend time with God, and spend time in His word.

If we are taking in that much influence, and propaganda everyday, how much more do we need to be taking in God’s influence through His word. It is God’s word, and will that should be steering our thoughts, choices, decisions, goals, plans, vision, and our lives. What the Father delights in giving us is far more precious, and valuable than what these ads are offering.

I will take this just a little bit further. Through Jesus we as sons of the kingdom have been sown into this world(Matthew 13:38), and we have the message of the kingdom to share with those around us. I think that we should be diligent in the pursuit of our Father, and understanding His word so that we can be good carriers of the message of the kingdom, and His new covenant. What I mean is that as good stewards we can offer up 5,000 of our own ads for people to take in. I don’t mean everyone has to go hit the street corner, and start preaching. Simply by letting the Lord direct your course, and your life you will be like a flashing neon sign that sticks out among all of the other ads out there. Be living epistles.

If you are trying to live in a such a way that you align your life with the word of God you are going to stand out. Your family relationships, and structure will look different. How you handle your money will be different. How you view, and treat others will be different. How you operate at your place of employment, or in your business will be different. Furthermore, if you continue in His word you will continue to become different as you renew your mind daily. He will transform you into something greater than you ever thought you could be.

Here is my challenge to you all in your pursuit to living a kingdom first life…fill your hearts, and minds with His word everyday.

Live your life Kingdom first!

Levi

 

How do I find contentment if I’m driven?

This post is in response to a reader’s question. I love the question, and I can relate. I used to feel guilty because I felt like I was wrong, and sometimes made to feel like I was wrong for continuously pushing towards goals and dreams.I think it probably comes from the bible, and people telling us to be content with what we have, but I think we turn it into something religious. We have to consider that the bible also tells us to grow, transform, and push forward. Let’s look at a short verse for contentment, and a short verse for drive.

1 Timothy 6:6-8 (contentment)

But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.

Philippians 3:12-15 (drive)

12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.15 All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.

Two scriptures out of many on this subject that we can glean from. The following is how the Lord helped me through the guilt I felt regarding my drive, and being content. You can be both driven, and content. You can always be pressing toward your goal, and be content at the same time. I believe our Father wants you to continually push toward the vision He has given you, and I believe He wants you to get where He has called you. We have to be careful how we define contentment. Contentment is usually defined as being happy with what you have, and where you are at. I will say there is nothing wrong with that definition in itself. The problem comes when we add stagnation to that definition. When we feel like we have to be stagnate, and stationary to show that we are content we mess up the application of contentment. Contentment is being happy with where you are because thank God He has transformed you, and grown you as you drive toward your goals, and you are no longer where you used to be. Contentment is walking in a spirit of gratitude towards your Father when things are going great, and when things are a struggle, but you are still pushing forward. You can be thankful for the little, or lot that you have while pushing with all you have to do the things He has called you to do. I think in a big way contentment is found when we get past selfish pursuits, and pursue the things He has in store for us. We will never be content if our goals are to obtain for selfish gain. A big part of the context to what Paul was saying in Philippians 3 is that nothing compares to knowing Jesus. If you know Jesus you can actually find real contentment (you can’t find it anywhere else) while finding your calling, and pushing with everything you have to serve that calling.

When we take things to extremes we make it religious. If you are all drive with no contentment you will just be wore out. Knowing the contentment that only Jesus brings, and walking in a constant spirit of gratitude allows you to pursue the goal with patience and persistence. Knowing Jesus allows you to be content right where you are, but it also brings expectation for where you are going.

Be thankful, be content, and don’t feel guilty for pursuing what He has called you to. Remember you do these things from a position of rest in Him, not out of personal strength to earn anything.

Live your life Kingdom first!

Levi