Proverbs 4 8-4-20

It’s not about the prayer; it’s about submission. I repeat: It’s not about the prayer; it’s about submission.

20 My child, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words.
26 Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast [deliberate, stubborn in doing right] in all your ways.
3:6 In all your ways submit to Him, and He will direct your paths.

There comes a time when every one of us must decide if Jesus is really worth following. If He is, then everything in this world becomes a tool in the Master’s hands; everything goes on the table for His use. If we don’t put it on the table, it becomes a hindrance and an encumbrance, a stumbling block that gets in our way, and a ball and chain that we drag around. Are we willing to give up our little “golden calves” (a reference to the golden calf that Aaron made for the Israelites at Mount Sinai; see Exodus 32)?

When talking to people about Christ, we must be careful not to mislead them. Asking Christ into their hearts is good, but not without the understanding that He wants their lives. There must be a willing submission of their lives to Him before He will enter and take over. It’s like swinging the door open wide and saying, “Come on in, Jesus!” He then stands at the threshold of their heart’s door smiling, with His hand out, waiting for them to give Him the deed to their house and the master key to every room in it. Until they are willing to give Him their lives, die to self, and allow Him to live through them, then He will NOT step across the threshold. IT’S THAT IMPORTANT.

Jesus had taken His disciples to Caesarea Philippi, which was a demonic worship center. He then asked the disciples who people said He was. They replied: John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah or one of the prophets. When He asked them, “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). From that time on, He set His face toward Jerusalem to die on the cross. He even told His disciples what was going to happen (Matthew 16:21). The disciples didn’t take it very well. Peter even rebuked Jesus! The LORD set Him straight:

23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”
24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?

If we are not willing to give up our “human concerns,” then Christ considers us an enemy of the cross. There can be no salvation. Once we are saved, the question still comes up every morning, but it doesn’t affect our position in Him. What it DOES affect is our fellowship with Him and how well we hear and heed His voice and direction. We would do well to live by this verse:

20 I have been crucified with Christ (daily) and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

May we take to heart the very things we preach. “Christ in us; the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27) means that we have given Jesus everything. We have “thrown off everything that hinders us and the sin that so easily entangles us” (Hebrews 12:1). Jesus IS our ONLY HOPE.

Abba, Jesus is my only hope. I have placed my whole life in His hands. Jesus, You are my LORD, my Master, and my only hope. I trust in nothing else for my satisfaction, my fulfillment, and my happiness. I am satisfied in You and content in any circumstance. My “money” is on Your eternal life in Your country, which is beyond the borders of this world. Keep me from becoming entangled with the things of this world, LORD. I submit to You and Your will for my life. I want to live for You. In the power of Your Spirit who lives in me, I will! Amen.

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