The Future of Your Health

I want to address something that could be very important in the very near future. As government trustworthiness disintegrates, the medical sector may decline with it.

But we should know without doubt that God has made provision to keep believers safe and healthy. Some have not believed that and therefore, have put their trust primarily or even entirely in doctors and medicine.

I know it’s easy and convenient to have insurance that encourages us to trust in physicians and medicines, but the truth is: no matter how practiced practitioners are, they are still practicing. God, on the other hand, knows exactly what He’s doing. And He only asks for our faith and complete trust.

Two of the many scripture references on healing are: “With His stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5) And “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” (James 5:16)

God has waited a long time for His people to accept the reality of the many great and precious promises He has made to us. There’s no better time than now for us to agree that His promises are – unlike the promises of desperate politicians – TRUE.

Don’t feel condemned if you have been in the habit of trusting doctors and medicine. But I urge you to dig into God’s Word and find His promises.

Will it take some renewing of our minds to change the infrastructure upon which our beliefs about such things are built? Absolutely. But we can do it with God’s help.

If you have never made a commitment to Jesus Christ – do it now. And when you do, make the kind of break from worldliness that will ensure your trust is not shattered with the world’s system, which is already spiraling downward toward the septic system that is its fate.

If this message sounds like dull thumping in your ears, May God bless you! Go and be happy with the future of medicine. But if it rings with the clear, steely tone of truth for you, let this be instructive. Ask God to set your feet firmly on trust in His provision for everything – including your and your family’s health and safety.

He has declared through the apostle Peter that, “His divine power has given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that has called us to glory and virtue.”

Proverbs 4:20-22 says “My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.”

Good health is among the conditions that pertain to life and godliness, a product of entrusting our health to God’s Word.

If you would like more information on the healing provision of Christ, send a request to pvmackhome@yahoo.com.

Pat McWhorter operates Grace Warrior Ministries and is the author of several Christian teaching books focused on discipleship and grounding new believers in the faith. He also teaches discipleship and assists ministries in Africa and Pakistan with disciple-making efforts.

Christians Inside and Out

The term “Christian” has overtaken the word “disciple,” and applied to it a meaning the Bible never supports.

In the common Christian vernacular, a person is presumed to be Christian if he attends, or is part of, a Christian congregation. Some ministers believe that. Others go a bit further, believing a “prayer of salvation” does the job. But few, from what I observe, conclude scripturally that to be a disciple of Christ was what was meant by the term, “Christian,” when it was first applied to disciples in Antioch. Yet, scripture shows that “disciple” was the objective Jesus intended.

Jesus did not use the term, “Christian” during His ministry on earth. In fact, in the Great Commission He said, “Go and make disciples.” He said those disciples were to observe everything He taught the first disciples, including to make more disciples. It is easy to garner from the New Testament that there is a huge gap between the lives of the early disciples of Christ and what we believe a Christian can or ought to be today.

For example, Jesus said disciples will love Him far more than we love our closest family members – so much so that our love for them will look like hatred compared with our love for Christ. Further, a disciple will deny himself in order to follow Jesus Christ explicitly, and will forsake all he or she owns for His sake. All of this is revealed in Luke 13.

Every disciple will, by his new nature, obey the first two commandments – loving God with ALL of his being, and loving his neighbors as he loves himself – as the PRIMARY focus of life. That is “Ground Zero” of being a Christian. Until we have achieved that INTENSITY of love for God and Christ, we have not moved beyond the “baby” stage of believing, into genuinely following Jesus Christ.

Paul said of the Jews, “He is not a Jew, which is one outwardlyBut he is a Jew, which is one inwardly.” In another place, he said, “They are not all Israel, which are of Israel,” and “They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God.” The very same thing can be said of “Christians,” so that not all who say “Lord, Lord” are really Christians, according to Jesus. Thus, a gap exists between what many claim and what actually is.

The missing ingredient seems to be the sacrificial nature of true repentance and the subsequent love for Jesus and His Truth that propels us into accepting His life in exchange for our own..

Leaders of congregations have propagated that gap by communicating reliance on a prayer as the sole act of commitment to Christ, ignoring the fervent love, faithfulness, and intentionality of discipleship that scripture actually prescribes.

The Church must see, preach, and teach the transformation of life God expects of genuine sons and daughters who supposedly abandon the natural life for the life of the Spirit. We must awaken to the true transformation the Holy Spirit has been sent to undertake in the lives of believers. How can a person possess the Holy Spirit of God and not be transformed in the outward man? Yet, it happens over and over. Converts leave congregations with a prayer and the expectation that, without any personal guidance and teaching by loving and mature disciples, the new believer will grow over the next thirty or forty years into a mature follower of Jesus.

Meanwhile, the Church is filled with babies knowing little of how to actually follow Christ, lying on the floor where they were converted in expectation that a small dose of pabulum weekly will suffice to grow the babe to adulthood. We should be glad natural babies are not treated so negligently.

It is as though Jesus gave a “Minimal” Commission instead of the “Great” Commission, and that, to “stay” in the building and preach “another gospel” that makes verbal converts who agree with the idea that Jesus is the Son of God and will faithfully sit on a pew once each week with tithe in hand.

You must be a Christian inside – where it counts – before you can ever become a Christian outwardly.

Pat McWhorter operates Grace Warrior Ministries and is the author of several Christian teaching books focused on discipleship and grounding new believers in the faith. He also teaches and assists ministries in Africa and Pakistan with disciple-making efforts.

Is your salvation as sure as you think it is?

Jesus warned us, “Let no man deceive you.” And Paul advised Christians, “Let him that thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” If you are so confident of your salvation that you do not examine yourself against scripture, you could be in danger of falling away from Jesus Christ. Otherwise, why would such warnings exist in scripture?

2 Corinthians 13:5 says plainly, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?”

Speaking to professing Christians, Paul was saying that by not examining your own faith, you risk the possibility that you could be reprobate. What does reprobate mean? The Greek word for it is adokimos, meaning rejected, unapproved, or cast away. It is the same word used in Romans 1:28 to refer to certain people who could be turned over to a reprobate mind for refusing to trust God. Further, it is the same word Paul used in 1 Corinthians 9:27 when he said if he did not keep his flesh under control, even after preaching the Gospel to many, he could become a “castaway.”

Many have been deceived by people who tell them if they will just say a prayer they will receive eternal life. That cannot be found in scripture at all. Yes, it is good to pray for salvation, but Jesus said, “He that endures to the end shall be saved.” Endures what? Endures in denying the old life and its urges, endures in the perseverance of faith, forsaking material possessions, and in being led by the Spirit of God. The Bible tells us that anyone who loves any person, including one’s closest relatives, more than he loves Jesus is not worthy of Him. (Matthew 10:37)

I urge you to examine your relationship with Jesus Christ under the bright light of scripture. Do not believe people who say God expects nothing more of you than a prayer. You have been purchased by Jesus – bought with a high price – and you are no longer the one in control of your life IF you are a genuine Christian.

We are in the last days before the return of Jesus Christ, and He is the One who declared, “When the Son of man comes, shall He find faith on the earth?” He remains faithful to His own, but the question is, Will they be faithful to Him?

Examine and judge yourself. Many passages exist that tell us what salvation really looks like. In fact, almost the entire second chapter of the book of 1 John seems to have been written to help us examine ourselves.

How much better to judge yourself while you have time to make adjustments than to wait until Judgment Day!

I urge you to not ignore this message. You have nothing to lose by examining your faith, but you have a great deal to potentially gain.

Pat McWhorter operates Grace Warrior Ministries and is the author of several Christian teaching books focused on discipleship and grounding new believers in the faith. He also teaches discipleship and assists ministries in Africa and Pakistan with disciple-making efforts.

Naked Before God

“Will you give your heart to Jesus?”

That’s what we most often hear from ministers of the gospel – evangelicals, at least. But what we hear from the Spirit of God, if we will listen carefully and diligently, is something very different. It is more on this order:

Will you give Me your mind and its preconceived notions and opinions? And will you give Me your habits, your first and best time, and your secret sins? Will you give Me your ears and eyes, so that your attention is focused on what I want it focused on? Will you give Me your hands? Your feet? Your money? Your talents, abilities, goals, hopes, dreams? Will you give Me your loved ones? Your place in this world? Your destiny, your path in life, your very will, personality, thoughts and emotions?

What we will discover in the process of saying “yes” to God in all of these is that we are naked. As naked as Adam was in the beginning.

We may even realize that we never really had anything of our own, after all. It was all given to us.

Our parents gave us our DNA and much of our personality, values and opinions, and certainly, what we like or dislike about our appearance. They and our acquaintances gave us our resentments, prejudices, habits, and secret sins. Our culture gave us education, fashion and valuations of what would be important in life. And what they gave they borrowed as well. We all simply picked and chose what to keep of the transient in the process of defining ourselves.

God gave us life, grace, faith, love, intelligence, the ability to reason and speak, and everything else that is a good and useful aspect of life.

Paraphrasing Paul, we might ask, “What do I have that I didn’t receive?” Even our will was a gift from God, one that He hopes we will return to Him.

In essence, we are already naked before God, whether we answer yes or no to His requests.

So why do we hold on to all of this as though it actually defined us and gave us value? What’s the point of resisting God’s call to lay it all down?”

Do we really prefer the temporal and trivial above the eternal and priceless? Do we really treasure the approval of a dying and afflicted world over the approval of the One who calls us to eternal life?

Each of us has to answer those questions.

And we do, intentionally or by default.

In these flashes of insight, when the curtain is pulled back and we see the reality of God’s offer before us and how ridiculous our hesitancy is, let us wholeheartedly commit to Him everything – and just as wholeheartedly, ask for His grace to never waver or renege.

Pat McWhorter operates Grace Warrior Ministries and is the author of several Christian teaching books focused on discipleship and grounding new believers in the faith. He also teaches discipleship in Georgia and assists ministries in Africa and Pakistan with disciple-making efforts.

Featured

Call of the Wild

Liberty is a wonderful gift from our Father, but it seems unbridled liberty is the primary identifiable Christian characteristic in the lives of many today. It is as though the unrestrained willfulness of the reckless and unredeemed soul in godless living had been so much a part of their psyches that it missed the call to be crucified with Christ. No doubt Christians might still be tempted to go their own way without regard for the guiding voice of the Holy Spirit, but we ought to be so calmed and content in following His lead that we can easily cast down the temptation to retain the selfish bent of the old unrighteous tree.

Complaining and grumbling, too, are hallmarks of some professing Christians who cannot or will not accept a hint of suffering alongside Jesus Christ in a wasting world. Likewise, the siren call of the wild to return to inbred and unleashed native appetites such as lead the worldly on the broad way to destruction might surely reach our ears, but it is only encouraged by the enemy of our souls when he sees in us a willingness to lean closer to hear it.

The soul might be tempted to acquire or retain many uncharacteristic motives from the worldly life, but the one God has ordained for us is the one that comes only by the denial of self, the taking up of Christ’s cross, and in humbly submitting our purchased lives to His way, truth, and life. That life is identifiable by no less than what is described as agape, the impossible-for-man love that only the Holy Spirit can deliver into our hearts, and then, only at our yearning for it.

Doing whatever we do with agape love and for God’s glory will produce in us peace and patience that allow us to experience joy in the Holy Spirit, and thereby further enable us to walk in the ways of Christ rather than in the flesh.

You and I, as professing followers of Christ, hold the handle of the door that would open to that kind of love for God or keep it shut. Only the memory of and consent to the wild and unholy life we had before Christ, calling to an unresolved will, can prevent the infusion of God’s love from filling us and changing us finally into the image of Christ He ordained for our lives.

We should never forget that God, through our knowledge of His Word and Spirit, has already made available to us everything that pertains to life and godliness. It is ours to receive, if we will be willing and obedient to His call rather than to the call of the deadly wild life.

Pat McWhorter operates Grace Warrior Ministries and is the author of several Christian teaching books focused on discipleship and grounding new believers in the faith. He also teaches discipleship and assists ministries in Africa and Pakistan with disciple-making efforts.

Have You Pledged Allegiance?

America. The greatest country in the world, right?

We have pledged our allegiance to it and its flag, right?

Its anthem can bring tears to our eyes. Its safety and preservation can provoke awe-inspiring heroism and selflessness. Millions have given their lives for the liberty our country has offered.

But for you and me – followers of Jesus Christ – allegiance to America, its flag, and Constitution can be very misplaced.

I love this country. Those of you who know me won’t question my patriotism. I’m a veteran and a loyalist. I believe America was conceived and founded in and with the highest human ideals.

But America is not where our greatest allegiance should be placed.

Your and my love for Jesus Christ must be unrivalled. It should be so far ahead of our love for anything and anyone else that all allegiance outside of that appears to be hatred by comparison. (Read Luke 14:26-27; Matthew 10:37)

We are citizens of a greater entity than America and the world. Our citizenship is in Heaven. We are ambassadors to earth. That is, if we are truly new creations in Christ.

I’ve known Christians who would die for the Constitution, but who would not crucify their flesh of sins Jesus Christ died to forgive, people who would proudly wear the uniform of the U. S. military, but who would disguise their Christian allegiance and character. Who would go to blows with someone for speaking a negative word about America, but who would not so much as move an index finger to shut off a video or TV program in which the name of Jesus Christ is blasphemed. And whose chest would heave at the display of the colors, but whose reserve in worship of the King would not allow the slightest emotion.

America will burn. That’s just a fact, because the entire world will burn. America is “wood, hay and stubble” compared to the Kingdom of God, which stands forever. As much as we love this country, we must remember that it can be an idol if we give it greater reverence and honor than we give our God and the citizenship He purchased for us.

Remember, next time you pledge allegiance to the United States of America, the relative positions of God and country. They are not one and the same, but worlds apart. And the disparities become dramatically clearer as ungodliness in government transforms America into a sad caricature of the country it once was.

Just as our forefathers in the faith “confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth,” we should acknowledge that we, like they, “desire a better country; that is, a heavenly” home, where our true allegiance resides and grows.

How much greater is the land of our new birth than that of the natural! By that great degree should our allegiance be pledged to the city He is preparing for us in eternity!

Thank God for America, but thank Him far more for our heavenly home!

Pat McWhorter operates Grace Warrior Ministries and is the author of several Christian teaching books focused on discipleship and grounding new believers in the faith. He also teaches discipleship and assists ministries in Africa and Pakistan with disciple-making efforts.

Self Love

One of the fundamental flaws of fallen man is love of self. It causes man to think more highly of himself than he ought.

Symptoms of self love were first found not in man, but in a creature called Lucifer. For him it was a fatal flaw, for when he thought so highly of himself that he challenged the throne of God, he affected his own demise. On earth, in the garden, he infected the new humans with his own self love, by encouraging them to think more highly of themselves than they ought.

“Did God really say that? You most certainly will not die,” he told them, as if to say, “Don’t believe God’s words. He just wants to keep you from ascending to His level as a God. He doesn’t want you to have His wisdom, to be like Himself.”

Satan lured man with the same self-love that got him cast out of God’s presence. And the moment they saw the lure of thinking their own thoughts in opposition to the declaration of their Maker, pride took over their souls. They were mere created beings, yet so quickly they presumed to doubt the Creator’s Word.

God created man humble and dependent upon His instruction instead of dependent upon their own understanding, yet they were so easily overcome by their desire to be independent and self-determined.

Ezekiel, prophesying the destruction of the King of Tyre in chapter 28 of his book, describes the exaltation that turned to his pride and arrogance. Some believe the description is actually a description of Lucifer in his glorious array before he became known as Satan; others assign the description to Adam, in the glory of his original blessedness, before pride overtook him. The description certainly seems fitting to either:

You were in Eden, the garden of God. Every precious stone was your covering…You were blameless in your behavior from the day you were created, until sin was discovered in you…Your heart was proud because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom on account of your splendor. I threw you down to the ground.” Ezekiel 28:13- 17 New English Translation

God delights in exalting the humble, but rejects the proud in their self exaltation, as His Word says, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

The sad history of the Israelites in their Promised Land was that when they were humbled, they turned to God and were blessed with abundance of God’s riches and grace, but when they were thus exalted by His blessings, they began to lean to their own understanding and return to disobedience and disregard of God’s instruction, causing God to humble them once more for their pride. And so it went until Judaism was humbled into virtual obliteration as a nation.

What is it about man that tends to believe that God’s gifts are the products of his own beauty, goodness and wisdom? I believe it is self love, inherent to fallen man, as opposed to love for God.

And I believe that is why the greatest commandments direct us away from self love to loving Him supremely, and, secondarily, to love our neighbors to the degree we love ourselves. Love for God with all our being subverts self-love and diverts it outwardly, so that we might truly be like God rather than pretend that His greatness and gifts are our own.

We are clay, clay that has been blessed with His breath and that basks in His glory. When we take His blessings and glorify ourselves for having somehow generated them by our own greatness, we make ourselves repugnant to Him and an eyesore to those who seek to live humbly before God.

We see those whom God has given great gifts and abilities – high intelligence, the ability to succeed in business, musical abilities, athletic prowess – begin to believe they are superior to others, run to fame and fortune and, soon afterward, find destruction in their excess of self exaltation.

Instead of recognizing the Source of their gifts and using them to glorify their Maker and sharing their blessings freely with their neighbors, in their self-love they consume them on their own lusts, like the “goats” who did not recognize the purpose of their abundance.

Self-love, or pride, is the enemy of God because it puts self on the throne owned by God alone.

Self-love, or pride, is what we have been offered salvation from, for it separates us from God.

Mary, in her Spirit-inspired hymn of praise to God, says of Him, “He has demonstrated power with his arm; he has scattered those whose pride wells up from the sheer arrogance of their hearts. He has brought down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up those of lowly position; he has filled the hungry with good things, and has sent the rich away empty.” Luke 1:51-53

What does any one of us have that we did not receive? Nothing. How, then, can any of us use His gifts – intelligence, beauty, talents – to elevate our thoughts and ways over His Truth?

Jesus told those who wanted to follow Him, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”  Denying self the center-stage of life is foundational to following Jesus.

It takes humility for a human to be in right relationship to our Creator. If we can truly humble ourselves to allow His written Word and His Holy Spirit to transform us, then in time He may see fit to elevate us. But as long as we use our God-given gifts as a means of exalting our selves, we cut off our access to the grace we need to truly become like Him.

Satisfaction with Worldliness = Complacency about Christ’s Kingdom

Matthew 11:12 “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.”

The verse above has been a mystery to many of us, including me. But the sense of it must be taken from the prevailing circumstance when Jesus spoke those words. The rulers and most outwardly religious among the Jews could not see the urgency upon them to abandon their comfort in the world. Their religious system was on the brink of ruin; in less than a generation, Jerusalem, the temple, and everything on which they based their personal significance would be in shambles.

As the Messiah stood before them announcing that the kingdom of God was at hand, those who should have recognized the true riches of the kingdom He offered them, shunned it, derided Him and held on to their present comfort because the kingdom of Jesus threatened their comparatively paltry earthly status. On the other hand, those few deemed the most unworthy saw the tremendous opportunity before them, dropped everything formerly important to them and, in great zeal and fervor, stormed the gates of heaven to take this new kingdom at any personal cost to themselves. The word “violence” describes the great, urgent desire they had for finding their place in Christ’s kingdom. Jesus was telling all who would listen, “Run into the kingdom like a man desperate for it. Lust after this kingdom as though everything you presently possess is garbage by comparison. Because it is.”

The complacency about the kingdom of God today is too much like the disinterest of the Pharisees. Even we, who have come to Jesus, have not rushed into His kingdom with the great abandon and eagerness of men zealous to take a marvelous city. We have kept our home in the world and viewed heaven as a retirement home – “We’ll live there when it’s convenient for us to move from here.” – not considering that we must occupy it now.

I’m pretty sure that complacency can be felt in heaven.

Father, open our eyes so that we may see the shakiness and impending destruction of the foundation on which we have built our earthly lives. Enable us to feel the urgency of being fully invested in Your kingdom. May we desire Your presence above any and every thing. (Further reference: Colossians 3:1-3)

The Vanity of Wrong Comparisons

For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.” Hebrews 9:16-17

Covenants are confirmed by sacrifice: the old covenant by the deaths of animals, the new by the death of Christ.

In fact, Christ was the Mediator of His own covenant. He was the One who sprinkled the blood of the Covenant – His own blood – on the Mercy Seat.

This tells us the New Covenant of Jesus Christ – the covenant by which we are redeemed in Him – came into force, became the covenant of grace for us, upon His resurrection. For He, the resurrected Christ, had to ratify the covenant Himself.

When scripture tells us that the “prophets and law prophesied” until John the Baptist, it is revealing that John was the last of the Old Covenant prophets, a voice in the wilderness announcing the appearance of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, whose Kingdom was “at hand.”

In other words, prior to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Old Covenant was in effect, even though the Kingdom of God had been brought to Earth in Jesus. The disciples of Christ who walked with Him daily were not yet born again even though they believed, they left everything for Him, they followed Him, and were even given authority to cast out devils in His name.

Jesus conferred upon His disciples much favor during the three years He walked with them, but it was only on the very day of His resurrection that they were born again, as “He breathed on them, and said unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost.” And it was only after His ascension, on the day of Pentecost, that they were completely filled with the Holy Ghost.

Now, why go through all of this?

This is a reminder to us all that, along with these original disciples, we who follow Jesus Christ through the Spirit of Christ, are part of the promised generation whose hearts have been made tender enough to walk in genuine repentance and loving obedience, and to be called the Temple of the Living God.

We have what the Bible calls “a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.”

Why, then, do we persist in looking at the faults and sins of men such as King David and Solomon, the weaknesses of Moses and Aaron, the disobedience of Jonah, the failures of Abraham and Sarah, the wrong deeds of the patriarchs, the weakness of Sampson, and the failures of disciples before the cross, using their failures to justify our sins and disobedience to the Holy Spirit of God, as if we have no better advantages than they had?

We are not more loved than they, but we are graced with greater and more precious promises than they were. With grace and the Holy Spirit in us, we have the capability to live without spot or blemish. And scripture tells us, “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.” Luke 12:48

We have been given much more than our Old Covenant predecessors, and because of that, God will hold us accountable for what we’ve done with the great gifts and precious promises we have been given.

In John 15:22, Jesus declared, “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have had sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin.” (World English Bible)

He has spoken much more to us than to the Old Covenant forefathers. God has spoken to us through scriptures by His Holy Spirit, which is virtually no different than how He spoke to the prophets of older times. We have seen the Messiah in the Word; we know who He is, and we know His voice. We have received great promises from Him. We have the Holy Spirit indwelling us, far more so than the prophets of old had.

Don’t you think it’s time we quit comparing ourselves to the Old Covenant men and women who “received not the promise,” and who had no ability to conquer sin?

Of course it’s time. We must begin to look “unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith,” for He is the One to whom we must compare ourselves.

Becoming His Disciple

We have church members. We have ordinary Christians. We have believers. But where are the disciples?

Christendom seems to have forgotten that disciples were what Jesus told the original eleven to go and make. And disciples are the only category of Christ followers He prescribed.

Said plainly, only disciples are Christians.

However, it’s a good bet that up to 99 percent of people who self-identify as Christians do not even know what being a disciple consists of.

Is a disciple one who believes in Jesus Christ? Is a disciple one who attends church more often than a couple of times a year?

What is a disciple?

Though it is a mystery to many in the Church today, Jesus was very specific about the condition of discipleship.

Let’s examine three astounding statements He made about those who would be His disciples:

  • Luke 14:26 “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.”
  • Luke 14:27 “And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.”
  • Luke 14:33 “So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.”

According to Jesus, His disciple must sever himself from all earthly ties.

Everything that binds us to this world, that makes us hesitant to wholeheartedly enter into service to the Lord, must be reevaluated and aligned with the will of God – or ditched – if we want to follow Jesus.

Our worldly goals and aspirations, our loving family and friends who want to keep us near them and walking with them, our homes, our jobs, our achievements, our hobbies, our possessions – everything that has the potential of distracting us from God’s will must be subjugated in our estimation and relegated to a position so far below our love for and eagerness to serve God that it becomes, as Paul indicated, like dung in our path. (Philippians 3:8)

If this sounds extreme to our ears, it is because we have considered some or all of these things in our lives too highly, and we still love them more than we love God.

Let’s review what Jesus said about following Him, for that is how He enlisted His disciples: He simply said, “Follow Me!”

That He meant, Follow Me in virtually every way that it is possible to do so, they seemed to know by the Spirit, for not one asked Him what we would have asked: Where are You going? How far do You want me to follow You?

In three of the gospels Jesus is quoted as saying, “Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”

What are we to make of these words if we cannot accept that prospective disciples are being asked to sever ourselves from everything that keeps us from wholehearted service to God through Jesus Christ?

They sound as though we are to be, in truth, fully invested in the Kingdom of God, in the actual life of Christ, instead of treating our citizenship in heaven as a symbolic gesture worthy of a framed plaque on the wall but without any change in our reality.

What have we thought He meant when He said, “Follow Me”?

“Follow Me in theory and rhetoric”?

“Follow Me in my ability to explain the Bible and quote scripture”?

“Follow Me as you ‘follow’ someone on social media”?

Apparently, eleven people who heard these words two thousand years ago and believed He meant to follow Him in purpose, thought, deed, holiness, zeal for God’s will and commitment to obeying the leading of the Holy Spirit. Later, one hundred twenty believed it. And later still, thousands believed it enough to sell what they possessed, or what possessed them, and follow Jesus.

Does hearing this make you want to cut your ties to this world and follow Him wholeheartedly, or does it make you want to reconsider the Christian path? The former is a step toward becoming fervently hot; the latter is a step toward becoming cold in your love for Jesus, for indecision is a vote for lukewarmness.

Some would think this is extreme teaching.

Barely moments after the rich young ruler walked away from Jesus on hearing Him say, “If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me,” He said to His disciples, “With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)

If we believe that God can make possible even those things we think are not, we might ask Him to finish the work He has begun in us, and make us disciples according to His description rather than according to our modern notions.

I highly recommend that you acquire a copy of my workbook, “The Planting of the Lord; Discipleship 101,” and step boldly onto the path to become a true disciple of Jesus Christ.