Have you ever been in a Bible Study/small group when someone asked the question, “What has GOD been showing you lately?” I realized I haven’t been asked that question lately because, unfortunately, I have not really been in a small group in the last few years that I was not leading. So, I sometimes ask myself that question. Not in a “I’m talking to myself, strange kind of way,” but I try to make sure that I am always learning something from the Word of GOD in my life. Now, there is a danger in asking this question in a small group setting when you don’t know the people in your group. You may sometimes here someone go off on a big time tangent and when it is over, you realize that what they said is nowhere found in the Bible. You can get people who talk just to hear themselves (like I do often). Sometimes, you even get people who share intensely personal things that just seem out of place in the context of the question. But, this is a good question that we should always ask ourselves. In our lives, what is GOD teaching us, and when we answer that question, it shouldn’t be long before we are taken directly to GOD’s Word. After all, if GOD is going to show us something, He is definitely going to use His Word to do it! Oh that we would never be a people who seek after GOD without seeking Him in His Word!
So, when I asked myself that question, I immediately go to the Bible, and the part of the Bible that I have been studying over the past few months. I am going through the Gospels right now, just reading and studying them thoroughly, and it has been fun and challenging. Right now, I am in Luke 15, but what I want to share with you is something out of Luke 14. You kind of have this progression of Jesus talking about the “invitation to the banquet,” and it seems like everyone should just come right in. He then, however, discusses what it takes to become a disciple. There are many times when we stop after the Banquet parable where it is evident that many of the first people invited (Israelites) declined the invitation so Jesus had to go to outsiders (gentiles, the poor, the crippled, etc.) and offer the same invitation. Anyway, the point is, the church today seems to teach the idea of the banquet. This idea where everyone is invited no matter what you believe or how you act, just accept the invitation and then you can do whatever you want. Just accept the invitation, and then go back to living your life (this is not what the parable is saying or even what it is about) however you want. But this is not what Jesus teaches.
Jesus tells us that following Him means giving up everything! In Luke 14:25-27, and the verses that follow, Jesus tells us that we have to care about Him more than anything, we have to love Him more than anything, and most of all we have to give up everything to follow Him! He is that important, He is that good, and He definitely is that worth it. What has GOD been teaching me lately from Him Word…He is worth everything. He is everything. He just is.
This is so hard to put into words. Have you ever tried to explain something to someone else that you kind of understood but that you knew you could never explain, and at the same time you knew that the only way someone else could understand it would be to experience it? That is where I am. I know that GOD is worth giving up everything for. I understand that in my mind and I even tell other people that I believe that and that they should to. The problem is, I cannot truly understand this myself and I certainly cannot do it. I am still extremely selfish and extremely prideful, and extremely (you fill in the blank and you are probably right). But, even though I cannot understand it or do it, I do have a promise from GOD. My promise is that I will spend my eternity with my Savior, and after I’ve been with Him for millions of years, I still will not be able to understand Him and His worth. So how could I, right now, try to explain to you what GOD is teaching me if I can’t even understand it myself? And even more than that, how could I explain this idea when it completely flies in the face of what we are taught each day by our culture and our world? Let me turn to GOD’s Word…
“In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.” Matthew 14:33
We do give up everything because He has given us everything as well:
“For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; He will lead them to springs of living water. And GOD will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” Revelation 7:17
And that is the point. I cannot explain what GOD has been teaching me because it is too wonderful to comprehend. But what I do know is that He is absolutely worth everything that we have ever seen or ever known because He is GOD and He is good. The reason the “Lamb” will be the shepherd is because the sacrificial Lamb Jesus Christ gave up His life for us. Anything that we put above Him will eventually go away, no matter what it is, in the end, it is gone. Only He lasts, and only He is worthy, and only He is perfect, and only He can save us! So what GOD has been teaching me is that I should be willing to give up everything for Him. My time, my money, my family, my desires, my sin, my job, my passions, and yes my very life. And while this may seem crazy, and it may seem like an extreme sacrifice, I can promise you it is not. Because my GOD died for me, my GOD loves me, and in the end, my GOD will wipe away my tears and He will welcome me into His Kingdom and I will be His son and I will have an eternity to get to know the most wonderful thing in the world! It is not a sacrifice if you are going to gain everything, and guess what…I am! Really, I already have, I gained everything! My GOD is everything. So GOD has been teaching me something that I cannot understand and something that I cannot live out in my life, but what a truth…We serve a GOD who is worth everything!
So, if you have some time, what has GOD been teaching you lately?
Reply to this post (you don’t have to be as long winded as I was), let us know what GOD is showing you and where He is leading you.