Losing Weight


      "Follow Me," Jesus said to him, and Levi got up and left everything and followed Him.  Luke 5:27-28....."Have you noticed that nearly everytime someone follows Jesus they leave something behind?......following Jesus implies a radical rearrangement of all of life.  Nothing is the same after we meet Him.  He redirects us from our previous path.  No one in the Gospels became a follower of Jesus and squeezed their discipleship in around their current lifestyle.  The encounter was too earth-shattering for that. Everything was new."  Chris Tiegreen...."Salvation is free, but discipleship costs everything we have."  Billy Graham
     The Left Behind book and movie series of a decade or so ago garnered a very large following both in and outside of the church.  They focused on the rapture, the taking away of the believing church upon the second coming of Christ, and what would take place among all those who had not believed upon Him and have been left behind.  I've no desire here to get into any kind of debate about what is usually referred to as end times prophecy, His return, or the rapture.  We can so easily become so focused on what may come to be, that we are blind to what is right now. The greater question I have here is why is it so easy for us to imagine ourselves leaving everything behind then, when we are seemingly unable to leave anything behind now?   Whatever your view might be on the doctrine of His return, that's a question we cannot get away from.  If we are followers of Jesus Christ, what is it that we have really left behind?  How much of what we considered "ours" when we came to Him, continues to be ours now as we profess to follow Him?  How much "weight" do we still carry while we say we're following Him?
     In the 1840's with the opening of the west, a mass exodus began of pioneer settlers heading to California and Oregon.  These settlers would leave the east in huge conestoga wagons, carrying all the belongings they considered precious and could not be left behind.  Once past St. Louis, and into the great hardships of the journey, it is said that what was known as "the Oregon Trail" was littered with discarded belongings that could not be kept if the journey was to be completed.  Getting to where they were going meant more than what had once been their most prized possessions.  If you're a follower of Christ today, does such a spirit mark you, me?  Is getting to where He leads us, becoming all that He has created us for so deeply desired that we are willing to discard anything that may keep us from that place in Him?  Many of those pioneers arrived in Oregon bereft of all they had begun with but didn't consider it loss for they had arrived at the destination their hearts longed for.  The apostle Paul said he counted the loss of all things as nothing more than dung for the surpassing joy and greatness of having and knowing Christ.  Are we in possession of such a spirit and attitude today?  Or do we cling to those things we believe more precious to us than Him?  Are we trying to "squeeze" what we can't let go of into a life that we say is committed to Him?  Do we expect Him to adapt Himself to our lives, and not we to His?
     Losing weight has always been a desire for many.  In the spiritual realm, what "weight" do we need to shed?  It can be far more than just possession or relationships.  It can be the pain of the past, heartbreak of the present, or fear of the future. Whatever it is, it's a weight that crushes us.  In His Word, we're called to exchange the weight of these burdens for the weight of His glory.  (2 Corinthians 4:17)  His glory is a weight that lifts us ever higher, but to lay hold of it, we have to release the weight of all we carry and keeps us from it.  Can we?  Will we?  Or, do we continue to try to make it to the "new country" we were created for while we continue to hold onto all those "things" that keep us tied to the old one?  Have we left everything?  "Get out of your country...and go to the land that I will show you."  Genesis 12:1.....Are we still in our old country?  Have we had even a glimpse of the new country He calls us to?  What is the "weight" we need to lose in order to enter into it?

Pastor O


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   May 2019   
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