Does life get in the way, or do you let life get in the way? I sit in church and I listen to the message, sometimes I enjoy it, sometimes I find it boring, often I find it too long. I would rather just hear about the miracles that Jesus did and simply listen to all the things he said. I love all those parables He told, I love to hear them. I know Jesus loves me, the Bible tells me so. I know because of my sin, Jesus came to sacrifice himself for me,
I know Jesus is meant to be the center of my life, BUT, my life is so busy, I have pushed following Jesus down the list of my priorities…You see I have my own priorities, there is stuff I have to do, there is stuff I need to do, there is stuff I want to do, God understands, God knows my heart! God knows my heart.
He knows my heart better than I, He knows what space I give to Him and what I keep for myself, He knows the real priorities in my life, not what my lips say, not my best intentions, what I actually think and do and feel.
Does life get in the way, or do I let life get in the way? Does life gets in the way, or do you let life get in the way?
I keep hearing about how I’m supposed to be a disciple, I know that in the New Testament the word Disciple is used to describe the people who are committed to following Jesus Christ. I get that, I’ve heard that. I even know that to be a true disciple of Jesus requires real commitment on my part, in my heart. I know that true discipleship involves my deep commitment to our Lord and Savior, allowing His life to infuse my own, so that I become more like Him. Bottom line is that I know that following Christ is meant to be the central purpose of my life.
I know, we know that discipleship is about Christ being formed in you and you being formed in Christ because Jesus is our Redeemer and He is also our Example, God’s image of perfect human holiness.
These are the choices I have made to date, to this day. However, we serve a God who will take us back in our repentance and so will we choose to truly become like Him? If so, we must be willing to follow His teaching. To follow Him we must be willing to submit ourselves to the truth of God’s Word, from beginning to end.
Discipleship is the choice of an ongoing process that will last the whole of our lifetime and should touch every part of our lives. Maybe you have been a Christian for many years, a few years, or few months, yes maybe you have already accepted Jesus as your Savior, but have you made Jesus Lord of your life? Have you surrendered your whole life to Him?
Being a disciple of Jesus requires more from us than just turning up for a church service, God is meant to have the central place in our daily lives. Being a disciple of Jesus is more than just reading your bible once in a while or praying when you need something, it requires a real relationship with the God who loves you. Discipleship is the way we show that we take Jesus – His Incarnation, His works, His words, His person, His life example, His commands and His commissions – seriously. A Christian who takes discipleship seriously is a Christian who takes Jesus and the Gospel, the Good News seriously.
Our ongoing walk with Jesus must be a priority in our lives. Every day of our lives involves us making some kind of choice. Some choices are easy, some choices are difficult,
Let’s try this test, say it out loud: when you first get up, coffee, tea or soda? Probably an easy choice. What kind of coffee? Black, cream, sugar? What kind of tea? Which soda? Coke? Diet Coke? Diet Mountain Dew? Sometimes we may even choose not to choose. What about chocolate or vanilla ice cream? Sometimes you can choose both.
Ok, I don’t want you to shout out an answer for this one, my priorities or God’s priorities. Each day we need to choose to follow our Lord, we need to choose to spend time with Him. This morning I want to encourage you to choose God’s priorities. I want to encourage you to choose to follow our Lord to choose to be His disciple.
The Bible example. Most of us know who took over after Moses, Joshua. He had a pretty busy life, he had a life where God was at the center. When Joshua was about 110 years old; he gave one of the most important speeches of his life. Joshua gathered the people around him and he spoke to them and gave them a challenge before he died. He told the people God had been good to them. He reminded them how God had delivered them from slavery and wandering. Just like we have been delivered.
Then Joshua tells them that they need to worship the right God in the right way, not some kind of substitute God or idol. Joshua told the people it was time to make a choice, Joshua 24:15: “But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.”
The Message translation phrases it this way: If you decide that it’s a bad thing to worship God, then choose a god you’d rather serve—and do it today. Choose one of the gods your ancestors worshiped from the country beyond The River, or one of the gods of the Amorites, on whose land you’re now living. As for me and my family, we’ll worship God.”
These verses are as relevant to us today as it was to the people all those years ago. The choice is as relevant for us today as it was for them. Worship and Serve God, or worship and serve someone or something else. Choose to walk in the light of God or stumble in the darkness. Follow the will of God as a disciple of Christ or follow the way of the world. Joshua’s challenge to the Israelite families is a challenge to us as Children of the living God. This is a binary choice. By that I mean it is choosing yes or no, A. or B. not C. “All of the above” which is frankly what too many people who call themselves Christians choose.
This is a challenge to embrace a changed life, this is a challenge to step into your destiny, this is a challenge to live each day as dynamic, ever growing, life changing, world changing disciple of Jesus Christ. There are many choices that we can make; we can choose to make the things of this world, our goal, our priority, we can choose to make our priorities, our pleasures, our comfort, more important than God, but the best choice we can make is always to serve the Lord, to walk day by day with our Almighty God leading the way, being our guide, being the number one thing every minute of every day…………period.
God has given us free will, He has given us the power of choice. Our choices determine our character, our direction, our destiny and where we will spend eternity. Of all the choices we face in life, the choice to truly know God, to surrender to God or ignore God has eternal consequences. Too often we prefer to just say we believe in God and then live like we want with our goals and by our way, trusting in ourselves to know better.
Proverbs 28:26 says “Those who trust in themselves are fools, but those who walk in God’s wisdom are kept safe.” You have a purpose, you have a destiny, to discover God’s purpose for your life, you need to be willing to allow God to lead you and guide you. You have the ability to choose to obey God or ignore God.
Will you choose this day to serve and worship God? No matter what is happening in your life right now, you can choose to be a disciple, a real follower with integrity. No matter what situation you are in right now, you can choose to be a disciple. No matter how bad things are, you can choose to be a disciple. You have a choice. Will you choose to grow as a disciple of Christ? Will you turn to Him with all of your heart and Soul, mind and body?
Listen to the words of God in Deuteronomy 30:10-20 portions:
“The Lord your God will delight in you if you obey his voice and keep the commands and decrees written in this Book of Instruction, and if you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and soul. This command I am giving you today is not too difficult for you, and it is not beyond your reach. No, the message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart so that you can obey it. Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster. For I command you this day to love the Lord your God and to keep His commands, decrees, and regulations by walking in his ways.
If you do this, you will live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you. But if your heart turns away and you refuse to listen, and if you are drawn away to serve and worship other gods, then I warn you now that you will certainly be destroyed. Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!” You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying Him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life.”
A decision be a disciple is a decision to serve the Lord. It demands integrity, dedication and discipline. The choice to follow God is a choice of sincere commitment. It means being whole hearted not half-hearted or an all of the above choice, it means being faithful not faithless.
As I close, let me ask you again, will you choose this day to serve and worship God? Are you willing to move to a different level of commitment in your Christian life? Are you ready to move beyond a casual, convenient, cheap Christianity into something more devoted, more committed? Will you make the statement Joshua made as a statement of commitment in your own life?
“As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Then truly live it out! It is your choice, it is your decision, are you willing to stop messing around at being a Christian? If you are willing, when you come to the Lord’s table today will you make a covenant with the Lord to live out these words: “As for me, I will serve the Lord.”