I am certain that anyone who claims to be a true believer in Jesus desires to follow Him wherever He might lead. However, would you be willing to follow Him anywhere? I would presume to think that most American believers have a threshold of suffering when it comes to their faith. Whether consciously or subconsciously we have drawn a line in the sand somewhere along the road saying Jesus I will go no further. The obvious direction to go here is to as, “would I die for Jesus?” I do not want to water down the many martyrs of the past, but martyrdom holds an eternal glory for the martyr that our self-centered flesh craves. I think a life lived in full surrender to the will of the Father is a greater and far more difficult task than the giving of one’s life through death. Many believers might be willing to go through the pain and suffering that Jesus went through on the day of His crucifixion, but would they be willing to go through the pain and suffering He went through every day prior? Would I be willing to endure the mockery, poverty, constant grind of people pulling at me with their hand out for a miracle? Would I be willing to endure the constant questioning and interrogation of the prominent religious leaders and the doubting of every person that I loved? What would my threshold be for throwing in the towel and giving up? At what point do I say, “Jesus, I will follow you anywhere, but there.”
“You should have the same attitude toward one another that Christ Jesus had, who though he existed in the form of God did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped, but emptied himself by taking on the form of a slave, by looking like other men, and by sharing in human nature. He humbled himself, by becoming obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross! As a result God exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow (in heaven and on earth and under the earth) and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.”
I love this verse and read it often. I even got it tattooed on my arm as a daily reminder. I have recently realized that the humility of our savior was displayed greater in His life than in His death. I have always preached on how Jesus didn’t demand His rights as God, but He also denied His rightful glory as God. Every second He spent on this Earth in the flesh was like breathing in the stench and filth of sewage. If you have never truly experienced this smell, feel free to join me on one of my trips to Haiti. Every day Jesus subjected His rightful glory to the pain and suffering of everyday life as a human. He had to toil and work for sustenance when His very nature as God should have been enough to sustain Him, but instead He hungered. He thirsted. He grew tired and weary from His toil. He tripped and felt the pain of living in a mortal body. Every breath was a submission to the heavenly Father. The human race needed a sinless sacrifice, which could have been fulfilled very easily without all the pain and suffering, but God’s plan asked for Jesus to be the glorious example of what God is asking of us. He wants a people that will honor Him above all else including themselves. The submitting of all our hopes, desires, and dreams. The willingness to live in poverty, to not have the new car, the vacations, the square footage, or something as simple as health insurance. He wants us to do this not for the glory of our name, but for the glory of His name.
My self-centeredness is like a cancer that eats away at my life. I desire the things of this world and will do whatever it takes to get them. I lust after the flesh and fall into its temptations as I become consumed by its desires. I am too prideful to surrender my rights to others and yet I think that I am able to surrender them to you? How absurd! You desire a submissive heart, not a prideful one. Help me in my self-centeredness. Help me to crucify my flesh and all of its desires and lusts. Kill my pride by making me look like a fool! Subject me to mockery and persecution so that I may stand only on the hope of Your glory bestowed upon me by You and You alone when I stand before Your throne. Crush my desire to seek glory for myself as I serve You. Whatever it takes to form me into the likeness of Your Son!!!
Would you be willing to truly live for Jesus in whatever way that He asked you? Would you be willing to live without financial security, without health insurance, life insurance, etc? If God called your family to start churches in Iraq, would you? Where is the line in the sand for you? What is your threshold of suffering? In the end it comes down to, do you really believe that what you believe is really real. Do you?