Summary: Be willing to make sacrifices for God and be blessed. When we give of ourselves, God’s will can be fulfilled. Ask, what does God expects from us today?
We tend to position ourselves on the receiving end, and ask God for His blessings.
• Surely He loves us and we know He will bless us and help us through life.
• We need also to see ourselves on the ‘giving’ end, and offer to God what He expects from us.
It’s good to get the right perspective.
• We need to sit back, quiet down ourselves and ask God: “Lord, what do you want from me?”
• We often expect God to do something – this and that. It’s good to reflect on what God wants us to do, so that we won’t end up wasting our time, our life away.
• This is necessary because the Bible tells us God does expect something from us.
• US President John F. Kennedy said in his inaugural address in 1961:
“Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”
22 And he said, "The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life."
23 Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. 25 What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? 26 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.
Is following Jesus Christ easy? No! It was never meant to be.
• Yet somehow, we often hear only the happy side of our faith – that as a Christian, we are deeply loved and greatly blessed.
• This is not wrong, but it is only one-sided. God expects something from our end.
• We are asked to be obedient, to share His love, to preach the Gospel, to serve Him.
• The truth is – a serious Christian (a disciple of Jesus Christ) can expect persecution and hardship, while serving Him in a sinful world.
• We are expected to trust Him, remain faithful, be patient and persevere.
Jesus puts it plainly - the one who truly follows Him must deny himself and take up the cross. The one who loses his life for Him will save it.
• The implication is clear – there will be sacrifices, and we need to be prepared to make sacrifices in life, if we are want to be good Christians.
• Doing the will of God will mean we have to count the cost.
• I’m not talking about some exorbitant cost – go be a missionary. For some, that may really be God’s call for you.
• I’m talking about just little sacrifices we make. It could the small price you pay to serve God in the worship team, or teach the children in the Sunday School, or sing in the choir.
• What are some sacrifices you’ve made for God since becoming a Christian?
Today, most would not ask such a question.
• They would prefer to know what God can do to solve their problems.
• They would prefer to limit Christianity to just about health and wealth.
• But that is not the complete picture given to us in the Scriptures.
• Doing the will of God will mean sacrifices, and we need to be prepared for this.
The sooner we understand this, the better.
• For the Christian who is not prepared to make sacrifices, he will very soon question God’s goodness at every slightest problem, and doubt His love at every slightest pain.
• That was the problem of the Israelites the moment they were saved from Egypt.
• In just a few days, they lost sight of the good and compassionate God who acted on their behalf.
• Instead, they said they would rather have remained in Egypt as slaves.
If our expectation of this journey with God is only all smooth and rosy, then we are going to be disappointed. We are going to get disillusioned very easily.
• For the Israelites, crossing the Red Sea, running from the enemies, having to fight my way into the blessed land wasn’t my idea of the good life God promises me.
• This is a lopsided view of the Christian life, of God and His will for us.
Yes, God wants to bless us.
• But these blessings need not be merely physical or material.