In studying this morning and preparing for the week ahead i was reading Chapter 8 of not a fan. Kyle Idleman said something on the first page of chapter 8 that really jumped out at me, he said, "It's not that fans don't want a relationship with Jesus; it's that they want the relationship on their terms,"
Luke 9:23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.
We don't tend to spend as much time with this verse as we need. I believe there is a simple reason for the neglect, it requires much from us. When we do speak of it, we have a tendency to focus on the later part of the scripture, take up your cross. That is definitely important; however, I believe that many try to do just that, take up their cross while bypassing the first part, "if anyone desires to come after Me." Listen, do you desire Jesus? Many will answer yes and I believe you do desire Jesus, but that is not all that the scripture declares. There is more to this scripture, you have to do more than just desire Jesus, you have to desire to come after Jesus. There are many "want to" people in the world. They want a great many things, but they don't want to do what is necessary to obtain and receive those things. Jesus says you have to desire to come after Him. You have to be willing to go after Jesus. What does that mean to you? The reality of it is different for for different people, but the foundation of it is simple, you have to deny yourself and get to moving. When I first met Pretty Sheree at CVCC I had a desire to go after her, and I did. She had my mind's attention and my heart's affection and still does. My actions reflected my desires. Hanging out with the guys was not as important. English 101,102,103, 211, 212, (thats right I made sure my schedule matched her schedule) became the most important classes CVCC ever offered. One afternoon we sat in the parking lot at Rainbow foods on 431 and just talked, for about 4 hours. You see my actions aligned with my desires. It wasn't hard for me to do those things, it was easy. Why? Because I had a desire to go after Pretty Sheree. The same is true of your relationship with Jesus Christ. You first must have a desire to follow Jesus. Check this out, if you are drawn to Jesus in any way, then, you can know that He has initiated your call to salvation or your call to obedience. John 6:44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. So if you are drawn to Jesus, you can know that the Father is drawing you into this relationship. Now once you recognize, acknowledge and begin the process of seeking the Lord Jesus then the road to intimacy and a relationship with Him begins. How does it begin? It begins by you denying yourself. You may think you don't have time to pray, deny yourself, and hit your knees, He will meet you there. You may think you would rather go to here there or everywhere Sunday morning, but deny yourself and hit the church house, He will meet you there. You may think you are to tired and can't study today, deny yourself, take out your Bible and read His love letter to you. After you have read, take out a pen and paper and study. Excuses are useless with Jesus and must leave your mindset. Pick up the pen, open the book, and Jesus will meet you there. These meetings lead to intimacy and a relationship that will drive every aspect of your life. If you are void of this communion with Jesus, then you must take action steps that involve you denying yourself and following Him. Pray for a desire to follow Jesus Christ with all of your heart. Pray for His drawing in every facet of your life. If your terms for your relationship with Christ is a quick prayer to start the day, a little church on Wednesday (fanatic), a little more church on Sunday (obligated), prayer over every meal, even your snacks (on fire), then your level of intimacy with Jesus Christ is about as serious as Judas. Seriously, he attended all the prayer meeting, was in class every time it was held. He served in the kingdom, however, there was no denying of himself. Everything He did was centered around HIS OWN DESIRES. Judas served Jesus on his own terms not the terms set forth by Jesus; therefore, there was no service at all, no commitment and no RELATIONSHIP!