This week's memory verse:
"That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." -- Philippians 2:10-11
When our shirts are washed and are free of stains and our pots are clean and free of the crusty stuff...there is a slight temptation to keep them that way. Leave the bright white shirt in the closet...if I wear it, I'll just stain it again. If I cook sauce in that pan, it will get crusty again...after all the work I did on it to get it clean! We get selfish and want to keep our things nice.
But what good is the shirt that just hangs in the closet? And a pan is no good to anyone just sitting in the cupboard. They need to be used for what they were made for...even if there's a danger that they might get soiled.
Matthew 16:24 says we are to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Jesus. And Luke 9:23 says the same thing, but adds the word DAILY...we are to take up our cross daily.
When we have accepted Christ, and feel that joy and that peace, there is the temptation to stay in that place. Just go to church and praise God for his creation, say a few prayers here and there and live a nice quiet life. But that's not what Jesus directs us to do. We are to pick up those things that trouble us, and DAILY follow him. If we are following Jesus, things might get dirty...we might see things that trouble us...we might see others in need...we might see that there is a whole world of people out there who don't know the peace of knowing Jesus...don't know about God's plan for our salvation. Jesus wants us to give up our wants and desires and surrender ourselves to him. He has work for us to do that might get us dirty.
But by DAILY following Jesus, he can make us shiny and clean every day! Accepting Christ and following him is not a once in a lifetime decision...it is a decision you have to make every day and chances are...many times a day! Surrendering every detail of our lives to Jesus will allow God to do amazing things through us...to do the things he created us to do! But if we hold back parts of ourselves just so we can remain in control, or so we don't get hurt again, or because we don't want to get dirty again...we are like the bright white shirt just hanging in the closet.
You can CHOOSE to make all of your sacrifices with a joyful heart, out of love for Jesus, totally abandoning yourself to his love. By doing this, you won't mind getting a little dirty because you know that Jesus will wash you, scrub you, and make you clean again!
I pray that we learn to love the Lord with reckless abandon, being willing to give all that we have and all that we are to God!