The second thing I want to write about is verses 18-22, the cost of following Jesus. Let's start with this: it's not easy. We get a small picture of this when the scribe said that he would follow Jesus wherever he went, and Jesus said that he didn't have a place to lay down. Jesus was homeless basically. Jesus had it rough. When he wanted quiet time, people followed him. When he was tired, he couldn't just crawl onto his Simmons Beauty Rest mattress and set his iphone to wake him after he'd had a full eight hours of sleep. He was sought after by many, and he was a busy man- from the wee hours of the morning to late hours in the day. The last verse, 22, was unexpected and made me think a sec. "Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead." Jesus was saying, the cost to follow me is greater than the importance of burial. The cost of following me is, everything. Nothing should get in the way of following Jesus. If anything does hinder your relationship with Him, set it aside. That is my story of pruning. The Holy Spirit has shown me things I need to get rid of, or set aside, because they were getting in the way of my commitment to Him. There are some obvious ones, although at the time were not as obvious to me: excessive drinking, porn, identity in the wrong things, material idolatry, love of money, time management, laziness, self-image, pride... to name a few. In all honesty and humility, I have surrendered all these things to Him. Some I still struggle with at times, but following Jesus is having an ongoing repentant heart. If one of these starts to creep up on me, I try to repent of it right away so that it does not hinder my walk with Him. We all have things like this, and the devil knows them well, and will remind you of them on a day you are weak. He wants you to get caught up in something other than Jesus. He wants your mind to be dwelling on something so much that you forget to spend your quiet time with the Lord that day. He wants you to get so busy with the earthly rewards, that you don't have time for heavenly ones. Friends, I encourage you to sit and pray about this. Ask Jesus if there is anything that is hindering your commitment to Him. If there is, are you willing to pay the price to follow Him? Are you willing to set aside anything that is minimizing your walk with Him? I challenge you to be honest with yourself. I was honest with you. If you are willing, be honest with a trusted friend who can pray and hold you accountable. If you want to, message me and I can pray along side of you. Thank you to those who have done this already.
The third thing, is when Jesus calms the storm. Get your imagination out a second... and go with me here for a minute. Imagine you are a disciple. First of all, Jesus is the guy you want to be around 24/7. He is your rabbi. You love hearing Jesus teach so you follow Him into the boat hoping for a good lesson or two. Instead, Jesus wanted to take a nap. After he'd been asleep for awhile, a storm begun. We're not just talking about a bit of sprinkling rain and a few peals of thunder. We're talking about winds so violent that the waves were filling the boat up with water. You look around not sure what to do. You can barely see through the sheets of rain. Your shoes are getting wet as they vicious waves are crashing in on the boat. You look at the others and you can see they are as scared for their lives as you are. Then it dawns on you to go wake Jesus! You grab the others and push through the wind and rain to get down below to where He is asleep. "Master, Master!" you say. "Save us, Lord; we are perishing." Jesus sat up and looked at you and the others with calmness. "Why are you so afraid, O you of little faith?" We looked at eachother stil panicked. Jesus got up and went out to the deck. He lifted His hands in the air and told the wind and the sea to retract. All of a sudden, it was calm. You couldn't believe it! You thought surely you were going to drown! The boat had almost been full of water! You stare at amazement at your rabbi. You are in awe of His authority over the wind and the sea. You and the other disciples glanced at eachother in complete astonishment. One of the other men said, "What sort of man is this, that even the winds and sea obey him?" You all nod your heads in agreeance.
Even though you weren't a disciple at that time, following Jesus as a man, you are still His disciple, following Him as God. Even though you aren't in a boat in the middle of the sea when a storm breaks out, where you life is in danger, you are living life on earth, where there are many "storms" that come. Do you panic and say, "Jesus! Save me! I'm about to die!" Do you think the worst will happen? Do you not trust that Jesus is right there with you in times of trouble? Do you question whether or not He could protect you?
What storm are you experiencing right now?