Monday, July 22nd, 2013
Success Strategies (Part 18)
But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right Hand of God.
Hebrews 10:12 (NKJV)
See, we have left all and followed You.
Matthew 19:27, Mark 10:28, Luke 18:28 (NKJV)
Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, 'One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in Heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.' But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
Mark 10:21-22 (NKJV)
Then Jesus said to His disciples, 'If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.'
Matthew 16:24-25 (NKJV)
To most Christians, life without an iPhone is a sacrifice. Because we live in a place of plenty. In fact, possessions overwhelm us. Is it possible we have become rich, young rulers--following many of God's laws, but unwilling to sacrifice our possessions to follow Jesus?*
In the Old Testament, a sacrifice was an animal: 'And the priest shall burn all on the altar as a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, a sweet aroma to the Lord' (Leviticus 1:9). Symbolically, it provided temporary atonement for man's sins.
Then came Jesus: the 'Lamb of God' (John 1:36). God sacrificed 'His only begotten Son' (John 3:16)--so that everyone who believed upon Him and followed Him would be saved. And so we do--sort of.
Consider a modern definition of 'sacrifice:' 'Forfeiture of something highly valued for the sake of one considered to have a greater value or claim' (American Heritage Dictionary). Is there any other One considered to have a greater value or claim to our lives than Jesus?
His first disciples left all and followed Him. Do we? Unfortunately, I don't think 'sort of' following qualifies us as disciples. So what's the answer? Sacrifice. But how can we succeed as ambassadors of Christ in media without the right stuff?
Like the right clothes, training and marketing materials? Or the communication devices to stay connected? Or the money to get started?
Among Jesus' final Words to His disciples are these: 'But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one' (Luke 22:36). When they responded, 'Lord, look, here are two swords,' He said: 'It is enough' (v.38).
Similarly, actors, models and talent for Christ must be prepared for their mission. But we must not become pampered princes, gadget kings or cosmetic queens. As disciples, we must ask Him when enough is enough. And we must be willing to sacrifice anything or everything.
But to receive His guidance, we must tune in to His still small Voice. It's a quiet frequency that requires a deliberate turn of the hand, head and heart. Its broadcast is continual, but listening to It is optional.
Here's the thing: If we become laden down by possessions, then we'll be too heavy to move when He says, 'Come, follow Me' (See Matthew 16:24, 19:21; Mark 8:34, 10:21; Luke 9:23, 18:22).
Because God promotes people who sacrifice selfishness. Therein, sacrifice is a success strategy.
To Be Continued...
* Jesus counsels the rich, young ruler: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+10%3A17-27&version=NASB
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Success Strategies (2013) series.