Friday, July 3, 2015

Following Jesus . . . No Matter the Cost

Last week, Leah and I watched one of our favorite movies, God's Not Dead, together again. It's one that never fails to encourage and inspire us in our walks with the Lord, and one we both love to watch when we feel in need of a bit of encouragement (and at other times, too! :)

Each time I watch it, one particular thing always stands out to me profoundly . . . what choosing Christ first in your life looks like lived out, and following Him no matter the cost. And since watching it this last time, I have been thinking about this quite a bit.


Many of the characters in this movie had loss of some form or another due to their choice to love and follow Jesus Christ first and foremost . . .

Josh lost the girl he had planned to marry, risked failing his philosophy class, risked never realizing the future career he was pursuing, and through it all, his family was not supporting him, but were instead discouraging him from doing what he knew God wanted him to do, specifically, standing up for his faith in Jesus. Yet even with all of these, his love for Christ came first! And that love led to many hearts and lives being profoundly impacted.

Ayisha lost her entire family, including her parents, brother, and grandparents, her home, and all of her possessions. She did not deny her Lord and Savior, but testified of Him, even when going through such a painful loss.

Mina had to make the difficult choice to end her relationship with the professor in order to obey God and not be "unequally yoked."

Martin risked, and may have experienced, the loss of his family when he chose to become a believer in Jesus Christ.

(And while this is just a movie, these are very real scenarios regularly being played out in many lives today.)


Throughout the movie, each one of these individuals was faced with difficult choices and the potential (and then often realized) loss of people they cared about or things that were important to them. It was hard, and at times there were tears, yet they took up their cross and followed Him (Matthew 16:24.)

And as they did so, there was an underlying strength that carried them through . . . the strength that each one realized: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13.) Through that, they came to have joy in their lives, despite the cross they might be bearing. They were following Jesus Christ despite the cost, and were leaning on the firm and immovable Rock. Their trust was in Him; their God, Savior, Strength, Trust, Shepherd, and the One who "daily bears our burden" (Psalm 68:19.)

As I thought about all of this, a quote I shared awhile back came to mind, and it seems to fit . . .

"As we endeavor to follow God’s leading, we should proceed as best we can discern the situation (assuming there is no scriptural teaching to the contrary), all the while praying for wisdom and clarification. He may shut the door and redirect, or He may confirm our decision. We can proceed in the confidence that He will go with us, and when the time is right, He will lead us on." (From Creation Research's devotional "Days of Praise" (which can be read in its entirety here.)


We may eventually face, or be facing, similar things in our own lives. Perhaps not to the extent that many of these people did (i.e. rejection/loss of those we love), yet no matter the extent of our 'cross' or how heavy it may be, we have a God strong enough to bear it for us. A God that will direct our steps in the paths He has for us . . . and as the quote shared, we can go forward with complete confidence knowing that He is going to guide us as we seek to follow Him according to His Word.

And there are glorious fruits that come from that obedience! Just as each one of the characters in this movie realized, whether directly or indirectly . . . and many fruits that may never be personally known.

So let us go forward with confidence and in faith, joyfully serving, obeying, and loving our Savior, seeking to be His light and witness in this ever darkening world. Letting Him use us to impact and touch the lives of those around us, knowing and trusting that He will faithfully guide us and go with us each step of the way!

8 comments:

  1. I saw this movie while I was on a ship last year. I loved it so I bought it when I came home. I must watch since I have bought it. God bless.

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  2. What an encouraging post, Sarah! We were really moved by that movie, too.

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  3. Yes, yes, amen! I enjoyed reading your insights, Sarah. I am so often encouraged by your posts about what the Lord has laid on your heart. He has given you a gift of writing beautifully, for His glory. Thank you for sharing!
    Love,
    Karen

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  4. This doesn't quite belong here but I saw this and after I sent it to my girl, Bethany, I had to send the link to you. This almost made me cry and I now regret not practicing the piano more. BTW we have a cello and five violins plus guitars and piano...God bless your day.

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  5. It is a very good one, Suze! Enjoy it when you watch it again. :)

    The song you mentioned sounds really nice . . . thank you for thinking of me! Unfortunately, I can't see the link - would you mind sharing it again? Thanks so much!

    Blessings to you as well!

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  6. I am glad that it was an encouragement to you, Joy! I had remembered that you (or someone in your family) mentioned how much you all liked the movie . . . it is a powerful one!

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  7. Thank you so much for your sweet and encouraging comment, Karen! It really blessed me.

    I am so glad that what the Lord has been teaching me can in turn be an encouragement to you!

    You're welcome!

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  8. Dear Sarah, what very wise, good words.
    Fear of making sacrifices and of taking up our cross - I think that's something we all battle with sometimes...(prime example:me!)
    Yet, as you say, if we resist that we live a shallower life and will not gain the blessing and peace God intends.
    Besides which, it's good to remember that God can change things any time!

    Your photos on this post are extra exquisite..if that's possible! So delicate and observant :)

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Thanks so much for your comment! Each one is read and enjoyed. :)