This week is the last message in our series, Not the Jesus we want.
This week we will be thinking about Jesus wanting to draw us closer.
Here is a video for the littles or the young at heart.
The following are excerpts from an article by Lysa TerKeusrt. If you don’t know Lysa’s story, you can check it out here…
Have you ever found yourself longing for a deeper connection with God, but you just weren’t sure where to even begin?
In Luke 9:23b, Jesus tells His disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” His words seem surprising at first. The disciples had already given up everything to follow Jesus. Or so it seemed … Family. Friends. Jobs. The comforts of home.
Yet, we find Jesus telling them the cost is going to be even higher than they had anticipated. The disciples aren’t being asked to lay down some things. They are going to need to lay down everything. Their plans. Their agendas. Maybe even their own lives.
And while it might sound like a lot to ask, because of their willingness to continue following hard after Jesus, they will experience a level of closeness with Him unlike anyone else.
This is what my heart hungers for when it comes to the Lord. I want connection. I want communion. I want closeness. Not only in a distant, heavenly future, but right here. Right now.
That’s why I’m so thankful Jesus’ invitation to the disciples in Luke 9:23 is for us, too. Jesus also invites us close. Which means we, too, are called to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him.
I realize “taking up our cross” may sound strange or vague at first, but for me, it has meant breaking old habits to create space in my heart for new growth. It has meant moving beyond a “plastic” Christian checklist: Go to church. Read the Bible. Don’t cuss. Be nice. Pray. Give to the poor … and instead, letting God mess with any and every area of my life.
It has meant things like offering Him my willingness to step away from TV for a season, fixing my eyes on Him first in the morning (instead of checking email and social media), and allowing Him to call me to a new level of discipline in my eating habits. I’ve offered up these things because I long for an ever-closer walk with Him.
I don’t know exactly what following wholeheartedly after God will look like for you. But I do know that if we want to grow closer to God, we’ll have to distance ourselves from whatever is distracting us. We’ll have to lay aside whatever we are prone to delight in more than Him.
No matter where we are in life Jesus is desiring for us to come closer.
To deny ourselves and live into what Jesus has for us.
Is it worth it?
Do we want what Jesus has for us, what if we are disappointed?
What if I don’t desire what Jesus has for me?
Can’t I just live my own life and be a good person?
Isn’t that enough?
What gets in the way of us drawing closer to Jesus?
Let’s talk about it on Sunday.