One of the great challenges of today’s church is focusing on Christ. It seems that there is a desire for the church to grow, but only within the confines of our desires. Even for ourselves, this is often the case. I will follow You as long as You go where I want to go.
The disciples had been following Jesus, but there came a point where Jesus needed them to understand that to follow Him mean to actually “follow Him.” For Peter, this meant that he needed to understand that sometimes the call isn’t to be the earthly king they were expecting, but to carry a cross. As was mentioned yesterday in the sermon at church, we need to allow Jesus to be both Lord and Savior, not just Savior.
Its not a matter of wearing a cross, t-shirt, or bracelet, but living your life for Him.
In today’s Scripture reading in Matt. 16, Jesus calls on the disciples to deny themselves and follow Him. The NLT puts it this way,
“If any of you wants to be my follower, you must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross, and follow me.”Matt. 16:24 New Living Translation
We need to stop looking at what we want to do and who we want to be, and start looking at what He has called us to (and to become).
So often in the church, we desire to keep things going the way we want it to be. This means keeping our music the way we like (generationally or ethnically), or our outreaches or church structure. Yet the call is not for us to be comfortable, it is to see the Kingdom advance, and to become the body of Christ has He has called us to be. It is not about us. It is all about Jesus!
For those of us walking along the multicolored road, this means that we need to stop looking at what we want (set aside our selfish desires) and look to what Jesus wants.
For today’s church, this probably means changes. Changes that will probably be uncomfortable. Changes that may make it feel like it is no longer our church (the reality is, it was never our church). This was a hard word for them, and it is no less difficult for us today, yet this is what He has called us to do.