In the book of Luke, Jesus speaks about the kind of sacrifices that must be made to be one of his disciples and he tells us that “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife and children and brethren and sisters, yea and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple” Luke 14:26. I know when I first read this verse I felt like it was intense, even after reading the whole context of the verse. It is not an easy quest to follow God and to allow ourselves to be set apart. To walk away from our old lives and our old ways of thinking, has many consequences that follow and we often times lack the courage to follow through with what that path would entail. Just think of all of the disciples who were beheaded, imprisoned, and those who faced constant persecution, who would sign up for this willingly? For many of us, our lives have built us for the challenge, rather we realize this or not. Our lives of constant familial strife, unwarranted social persecution, and even our strong moral stances on the way the world is headed, have all been a part of the training and the precursor to the renewal of the mind that is required to enlist in God’s army.
God would not expect us to be successful to fight a war that he had not given us prior preparation for. When we are receiving the blunt end of rejection, and chronic suffering it is truly a time to rejoice, that is if we are seeking his presence, because it means that he is calling you to sharpen your sword and that you are one of His, so enjoy the firing process. Not only does he know what is required to sharpen and prepare you, but He also knows that battle that is up ahead against you and those who He wants to be a part of His Kingdom to come, is a great one. It is surely easier said than done to count it all joy when we are facing setbacks, delays, disappointments, hardships, poverty, death, illness and broken relationships and sometimes all of these simultaneously, but only in all of these intense circumstances will it create the recipe for the pruning and character shaping required to be His servant. The Messiah told us that in order to follow him we would basically have to be willing to walk away from it all and it is immensely painful, but all that He teaches is for our own good, so it would be good for us if we live in that understanding and in obedience yielding the return of perseverance.
It is hard to remember that we were created, and all that is created by the creator is for the purpose of Him and not solely for the purpose of ourselves. Being successful, or popular, or being rich, or being educated, while those things are great and in fact could also be part of Yah’s divine will for your life, it certainly will not be without a requirement from him. While living in this society built off of the institution of bondage, it is hard to keep God’s plan for us in the forefront our minds while the laws of the land consists of bills and taxes, jobs we hate, along with the constant tempting of Satan and all of his distractions, it is easy to lose sight of spiritual things. Keeping God’s will for us in the top of our mind when we make all of our decisions, will alleviate us from deviating away from God’s intended purpose for our lives, but he never told us that it would be easy or that it may provide much comfort doing so. In fact, he has shown us more of the opposite. So when faced with persecution, rejection, abandonment, rebuke, loneliness, discord, and fighting everything under the umbrella of the seen and unseen, we must remember to count it all joy when we are tried as all things work to what is best for us only in conjunction with his plans even if they seem to be unbearable, because he that shall endure unto the end, shall be saved Matthew 24:13.