We are surrounded today by a faith that sadly seems poorly reflective of the kind of faith that Jesus so passionately spoke of in the gospels. In Lk. 14:26-27, Jesus offers us a glimpse into the life of a disciple when He says, "If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be my disciple."
Matthew 10:37-39 says, "He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for my sake will find it."
My goal in quoting these two passages was not to frighten you as to the cost of following Jesus; it is simply to alert you to the presence of a cost to following Jesus. The cost, at its minimum, is very simple: it is not easy. Following Jesus is not our default setting, and it does not just happen naturally. Relationships never just happen; they require effort, invested time, and mutual interest.
One of the reasons lukewarmness is so common in our generation is because of the lack of a genuine relationship with Jesus Christ that is characterized by the wholehearted searching after that He so clearly requires. Halfhearted devotion will not do, and moderate submission is not enough.
When we give our lives to Christ, He demands it all. Our lives are no longer dedicated to our own goals, ambitions, or loves, but we are wholly Christ's. We are called, as we saw above, to love Him above all other earthly ties and relationships.
Ps. 27:8 says, "When You said, 'Seek my face', my heart said to you, "Your face, O Lord, I shall seek." My desire for myself, for my church, and for all of you is that we will hear the heart of Jesus in the statements I quoted above and His calling us to seek His face. And I pray that our response is truly to seek His face with a passion that leaves no doubt who our Master is.
We are invited to follow Him, to enter into a personal relationship with the Creator of the universe. If that does not humble you and sober you in the same breath, you missed some part of what I just said. The Creator of the universe, the one who breathed life into dust to form man and breathes out the stars of heaven, desires a relationship with you.
But He doesn't call for your leftover time. He doesn't desire whatever gifts and talents you may have leftover when you've finished your own goals for your life. He demands ALL. Whoever will fight to preserve their own ambitions and goals will lose them, and those who surrender joyfully their entire lives to Jesus Christ will find the blessing and peace of serving a loving, sovereign Father.
My call is to you, my fellow teens. I know the struggle. Believe me, I fall to the same temptations you do: apathy, misplaced priorities, lack of motivation. I've fallen prey to them all. Daily. Yet my call to you is the same as the psalmist, "Seek His face", passionately, ardently, above all; to place Jesus on the throne of your heart and a relationship Him as the highest ambition of your soul. It's the offer of a God who desires a relationship, who desires to be a Father to you.