Matthew 4:19-20 And he said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him.
We live in a culture where many people are trying to be first but Jesus call to follow him is an invitation to be second. Answering this call requires humility and a willingness to leave our safety nets behind. Before Jesus disciples could follow him, they had to let go of their nets. Some of Jesus disciples were professional fisherman, they earned their living from catching fish. Their nets represented their jobs and income. Jesus was asking them to put it all on the line because you can’t follow Jesus and still hold onto your nets. Everyone of us have have nets in our lives. They range from reputation to relationships to remuneration. What are the nets in your life, you need to let go of to answer Jesus’ call to follow him? Selah!
John 12:24-25 “Truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, but whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”
Jesus words are both compelling and convicting. His kingdom is an upside down kingdom to the popular voice of self-centeredness and self-absorption that we are saturated with in our culture. Jesus says that in order to truly live, you must love this temporary world less for the sake of others eternities. A life surrendered to Christ doesn’t exist for ones self but for the benefit of others. Following Jesus isn’t “me first” but “Christ first” and the application of that is in the way we relate to and treat others.
Song of Solomon 2:15 Catch the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vineyard. I ran from Sydney to Melbourne and raised $160k for my local church in 2008. It was a monumental challenge and was not helped by my little toe on my left foot turning black and getting pancaked for 1,172km. It didn’t matter how fit I was, the tiniest thing became my biggest issue. The same principle applies in life. It’s the little things that make the biggest difference and if you don’t pay attention to them, they will take you out. The challenge is many of us think we can take shortcuts with the little things and get away with it, however, you ignore them at your own peril. What are the little foxes in your world stealing the fruitfulness from your vineyard of life, work and health? Identify them and catch them before they spoil your vineyard.
Acts 17:21 Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new.
Our culture loves new. Our economy thrives on us consuming the new gadget and product that is coming next. What was cool yesterday is obsolete today and what’s relevant today is being replaced by something new tomorrow. We are much like the Athenians who reveled in what was new but never actually embraced what was true. We can bring that same sort of consumer mentality into our relationship with God. We can delight in hearing and revelling in the new insight we’ve heard but never actually do something with it and outwork it in our everyday lives. Every fresh revelation requires a new dedication. It’s not enough to get a new revelation, if we’re not going to dedicate ourselves to its truthfulness in our lives. Are you being obedient to what God has already revealed to you? Some of us are more educated than we are obedient and we hear more than we are putting into action. Dedicate yourself to the revelations Gods showing you and the fruit of your life will speak for itself.
2 Chronicles 5:11 ‘The priests consecrated themselves without regard to their divisions.’
Consecration is about your heart, not your position. Sometimes people think only those who are senior pastors or those in great and influential positions need to be fully consecrated to God while the rest of us only have to be half-consecrated. Wrong conclusion.
In the passage above the priests consecrated themselves to God, regardless of what position or division they were in. The word consecration means to be set apart as holy for the purpose of worshipping God. Consecration isn’t a one time event, it’s a continual requirement of every follower of Christ.
Unfortunately, some of us are living off a past consecration for a past season. In every major season of our lives we need to be freshly consecrated to God. Romans 12:1 ‘I appeal to you, to present yourselves to God as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God. This is your spiritual worship.’ In light of who God is and what God has done, the only reasonable and rational thing to do is to throw ourselves at God’s altar and consecrate ourselves.
Consecration always happens in the holy place. The holy place from a new testament perspective is in the context of our personal relationship with God. We accept the invitation from God’s Spirit, to enter the school of the Spirit and be set apart for God’s purposes. It involves making a sober decision to leave the old nature behind, including some former ways of thinking, speaking and living, to embrace the new renewed nature of the Spirit working in us through the process of sanctification.
Joshua 3:5 ‘Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow God will do wonders among you.’
Consecration always precedes God’s wonders. Before Israel crossed over the Jordan River to march into the promised land, they had to consecrate themselves to God. Before the fire of God’s glory could fill the temple, the priests had to consecrate themselves. Before God wonders become a living reality in your life, you need to consecrate yourself.
Humbly posture your heart in prayer and worship and hand the keys to the door of your heart and future over to God and let him in to occupy every square corner of your life and you would have started the journey on the road of consecration.