Sunday, March 2, 2008

Another great devotional, part 2

Here is another great devotional from one of my favorite preachers, Ed Young. (personal note, enjoy Buddy & check out Ed's video with Joel, pretty funny!)

Remember the words I spoke to you: "No servant is greater than his master." If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me.
John 15:20-21

Many people are surprised when they read these verses of Scripture for the first time. How can a loving, peaceful, gentle God allow people to hate you for being obedient to him? But many are surprised because one of biggest lies about the Christian faith is that obedience equals a comfortable life. But Jesus says in Matthew 10 that he did not come to bring peace. He came to bring a sword.

Jesus' message is so strong that it produces polarizing responses in your life and mine. God never promised that if we were obedient we would live a comfortable life. Some of God's most obedient followers have been imprisoned, tortured and have even forfeited their lives because of their allegiance to Christ.

Most Christ-followers today will not lose their life for faithful obedience. But the costs are often more subtle. There may be social sacrifices. There may be sacrifices of time to serve others that could have been used to serve self. But these are small sacrifices compared to the ultimate sacrifice that Christ made on the cross.

Don't let the sacrifices keep you from focusing on the bigger picture. Consider what the Bible said about Jesus. "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Hebrews 12:2). Jesus sacrificed his life because of the blessings on the other side of the cross. Can you focus on the blessings ahead of you?