Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Cost of Discipleship

"If it does not please you to serve the Lord, decide today whom you will serve...As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." (Joshua 24:15, NIV)

What a huge decision to make. What boldness comes with that decision. What fear follows the boldness! God told Joshua to be strong and courageous when leading His people to the Promise Land. I want to live in my Promise Land and have come to a fork in the road where I must choose whom I will serve. I am scared because I know that choosing God will cause disappointment and pain to some family members. I have made decisions like this before and have suffered wrath like I have never seen. It is amazing what the enemy can do through a human being. But our God is a mighty God and He encourages, strengthens and comforts us in every step we take for Him. The Bible says we should not be surprised by trials and tribulations as they are part of the disciple's life.

I am reminded of Ordinary, a precious character in the book, The Dream Giver. I love this book because its main character is me and every single one of us who has a dream that they know they are called to fulfill. Ordinary takes up the courage that the Dream Giver (God) tells him he will need for his journey. Ordinary encounters bullies and giants who try to keep him from fulfilling his Dream Giver/God-given dream. The enemy has a way of doing that in our lives through friends, family and people we don't even know. As it is written in Joshua 24:15, we have to decide who we will serve in our lives. Choosing the Lord requires so much of us, actually all of what we are and with it will come uncertainty, heartache, disappointment, fear, humiliation, and great sorrow. Some may ask why anyone would want to serve the Lord if pain comes with it. The only answer I can give is that like Ordinary, I love the Lord so much, I would risk it all for Him. How startling and frightening those words are. If I choose to do exactly what the Lord wants, there will be many times where I will have nothing and no one to fall back on. But I know that one moment of joy with the Lord is worth more than all other moments put together!

Several years ago, my sister and I packed up her three-bedroom house and moved to Dallas so that she could attend a two-year graduate program. We did this in three weeks time and did not realize what we had done until the plane took off. We looked at each other and said, "What have we done?!" We laughed and cried and realized that it was too late; we were in the air. What I realize today is that God had someone for each of us while we were in Dallas to guide us, love us and strengthen us. My sister's best friend lived in Dallas and was my sister's rock. My nephew who has special needs, was blessed with teachers who adored him and were always prepared for his every need. And God just blessed me with an amazing friend who reflected the Holy Spirit. God showed me that even though we can't see Him, He will always be there for us.

We do not know what lies ahead when we choose to serve the Lord, but if we want to please Him, we have to choose Him. I read a quote by an unknown writer that said it does cost to follow Jesus, but it costs even more not to follow Him.

Lord, I know I am not my own and that Jesus paid a high price for me. Thank you for choosing me. I am fearful of what my choice will cost others, but I know that if I don't follow You, I will hinder Your work in me and in them. Forgive me for my fear and increase my faith. Joshua 1:9 commands us to be strong and courageous and not be terrified. You have promised to never leave us nor forsake us. Help us all to hold fast to Your promises. In Jesus' sweet, holy Name. Amen.

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