"Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." Matthew 16:24
We are always wanting someone to give us "a word". But we don't want just "a word from the Lord", we want one that is pleasant, easy, will tickle our ears, tell us good things and only what we want to hear. Well, it just isn't always like that. Even Jesus spoke hard words to His disciples while on earth. "Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you." (John 6:53) That word was a "hard" word and offended many of His disciples to the point where some of them turned back and stop walking with Him at all. (v.60,61,66)
We want the blessings, the benefits, the good things, and the promises but His Words are not always easy, for example, His word, "Follow Me". When we accept that invitation and then find ourselves in some "unpleasant" places why do we get offended by it? Didn't we know that to follow Him means that we will go where He goes/went. Following Him will take us into the wilderness to be tested. It will take us on a path of rejection. It will take us into the storm. It will take us to the place of self-denial. Following Him will take us to the cross-- the place where our flesh (will) dies and conforms to His will.
Jesus did not walk an easy path, neither will His disciples. He faced hardships, we will too. The servant is not greater than his lord. Don't think that it is strange when you are following Jesus' words and hardship comes into your life. You are following down the same path He has traveled.
Lest what I am saying offends you and causes you to want to turn back, let me say this... as you follow Jesus and the path doesn't look easy, remember that He is walking it with you. He is not leaving you alone. Just as the Father was with Jesus on His journey, so is Jesus and Holy Spirit with you as you follow Him. Remember this also, Jesus has already walked down these paths... He is well acquainted with them. He knows how to "get through them" because He went through them, and overcame them in victory. Because He overcame so can we-- we not only follow Him down paths of hardship, but also paths of victory.
So be encouraged. While Jesus' words are not always pleasant like we would like for them to be, even the hard words are full of blessings. Just because we can't see them, doesn't mean they aren't there. There is eternal life hidden in them... and that is the greatest blessing of all.
Have a great day. Jesus' words are not always easy or what we want to hear, but the hard words are the ones filled with the greatest blessings.
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Coffee Break is a morning devotional written by Lorraine Ezell
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