In a world where you can be anything, be Jesus.
Read Luke 12:27-34 and Ephesians 4:11-24.
When we live for God, truly live sold-out for Him, we have to give up living for ourselves. This is a hard thing to obtain because people are selfish. We have to die to ourselves in order to live for Christ.
First in Luke, Jesus describes the way our Father in heaven takes care of us. But He wasn’t telling the people about God’s benevolence so they’d follow Him or believe in Him or be in awe of God’s power. Jesus told it to them so the ones following Him would stop worrying about their own needs instead of His will for them. One way people worry has to do with how they look. Look at how flowers grow; aren’t they beautiful? Effortlessly and naturally, flowers are dressed more beautifully in petals then even the richest and most talented people in the world. Jesus says that “not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.” Solomon was the wisest man to ever live (and was one of the richest kings of Israel), and even in his entire splendor, he couldn’t compare to one flower. And then in verse 28, Jesus asks us an interesting question. Look at it. If God does that for little, wild plants that don’t usually last more than a couple of days, how much more will He take care of us?
Jesus gives us another example. How many people do you know who like good food? Everybody you know likes good food. Anybody you ask would rather eat good food than bad food. In our plentiful culture, we tend to take food for granted. We have tons of good food, and sometimes it even gets thrown out because we can’t eat it all! We don’t usually have much reason to worry about having food to eat, but we can still make a big deal out of it. Now imagine the people of Jesus’ time on earth. These people didn’t have extra food lying around, and there were no refrigerators or big kitchen cupboards. These people had to work for each meal they got, and they had to prepare it themselves too. And Jesus wasn’t even talking to them. Jesus was talking to His disciples, the men traveling from town to town with Him, not totally sure where they’d end up next or what they’d be eating. But still He said, “do not worry about it.” (v.29)
Unbelievers run after all these things. It doesn’t take rocket science to figure that out. We see people of this world trying to gain these things all the time, and they can look pretty miserable doing it. Our Father, the One Who made us, knows we need these things, food, drink, and clothes. Jesus tells us to trust Him to provide for us.
While we’re trusting, we are also called to seek His kingdom first. This is where sacrificing what you want to do comes in. We aren’t called to seek His kingdom after we’re done with our agenda, when we have nothing better to do, when our consciences have finally pushed us to that point, or even after we’ve gotten into the right, “close to Jesus” mood. We are called to seek His kingdom first.
Jesus then makes a statement I hadn’t really noticed before. In verse 32, He says, “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.” We always say seeking God’s kingdom is just another way of saying “do God’s will.” But then Jesus says this, which makes me think it’s a little more than that. Seeking God’s kingdom means actually searching for God, here. While we are on earth, we need to look for and build up the kingdom of God: little pieces of heaven on earth. We don’t have to wait until we die to experience the kingdom of God; we can do that right now. And Jesus has promised us that if we seek it, God will happily give it to us. God wants us to seek Him and His way, and that doesn’t mean being mindless servant-robots. It means being His children, looking and searching for our beloved Father so we can be with Him. God’s kingdom is an amazing thing.
Jesus then tells us to make sure we invest into God’s kingdom. Jesus doesn’t want us to just give to some mindless cause; He wants us to give to God because God will bless us multiple times over in return. Jesus is also right when He says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (v.34) When we give to God’s kingdom (in whatever way we do), we become more attached to it because we feel like we truly have a part in it. We’re really doing something for it. And God wants our heart to be in His kingdom, where He is.
Then in Ephesians, Paul gives us some guidelines on how we can put God and his kingdom first in our lives. First, Paul reminds us that our pastors, Sunday school teachers, Bible study leaders, preachers, and all other spiritual leaders are put in our lives to help equip us for doing what we need to do to build up God’s kingdom, the body of Christ. (v.11-12) Our goal is to become mature in our faith so we can have the full measure of Christ within us.
In verses 14-15, Paul describes what being mature in Christ looks like. Then in verses 17-19, Paul shows us what we are like when we don’t follow Christ. When we don’t follow Christ, but instead follow our own sinful and selfish desires, our hearts become hard to Jesus. We don’t understand God because we aren’t like Him; we’re sinful. We do what we want so we no longer want to follow God. That’s where our reluctance to seek God’s kingdom comes from.
But that’s not the way of life we have now. We have learned the truth and no longer have to be trapped in our old way of thinking. Paul tells us there are three things we are taught to do. “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (v.22-24) When we come to Jesus, we are made new, born again into God’s family, and we become like God in righteousness and holiness. This is only possible because we are seen through the blood of Christ, Who is the only One to ever live a perfect life. When we choose to seek God, we are sacrificing ourselves to be like Jesus.
Lord, thank You for making us new! Please help us follow You! Please teach us to seek Your kingdom here and look for You. Thank You that You will reveal Yourself to those who look for You. Please help us give up our own desires and wants and surrender all we are to You. Please help us have faith in You! Help us love You more! In Your Name i pray Lord Jesus Christ, let Your will be done! i trust You! i love You! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Amen.