I tried this Jesus thing and it didn't work for me?
From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.
John 6:66-69 (KJV)
After this a lot of his disciples left. They no longer wanted to be associated with him. Then Jesus gave the Twelve their chance: "Do you also want to leave?" Peter replied, "Master, to whom would we go? You have the words of real life, eternal life. We've already committed ourselves, confident that you are the Holy One of God."
John 6:66-69 (MSG)
Over the years, I have heard several make this foolish statement, "I tried the Jesus thing, but it didn't work for me." Why, could it be that they wanted Jesus on their own terms? Of course that wont work then. If you are going to be His follower, you must come to Him on His terms.
Many are willing to follow Jesus to a point, and then they come to one of these hard sayings of His and decide it was not for them. In this passage, it says that after this many of His disciples left. They were not just casual hearers, they were disciples. The Message says they no longer wanted to be associated with Him. When I read that, " they no longer wanted to be associated with Him", I thought wow! How many there are who go to church every Sunday, who are never willing to tell anybody about Jesus, almost as if they were ashamed of Him, yet they believe that they are safe from any coming storm. However, they are in the same boat as the backslider. When it comes down to a life or death choice to follow Jesus, they would deny Him in the blink of an eye, giving it no second though in order to save their own skin. They are those who are trying to serve Him on their own terms, they are one step away from leaving the Christian-life altogether.
And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple. Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned? It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
Luke 14:25-35 (KJV)
One day when large groups of people were walking along with him, Jesus turned and told them, "Anyone who comes to me but refuses to let go of father, mother, spouse, children, brothers, sisters-yes, even one's own self!-can't be my disciple. Anyone who won't shoulder his own cross and follow behind me can't be my disciple. "Is there anyone here who, planning to build a new house, doesn't first sit down and figure the cost so you'll know if you can complete it? If you only get the foundation laid and then run out of money, you're going to look pretty foolish. Everyone passing by will poke fun at you: 'He started something he couldn't finish.' "Or can you imagine a king going into battle against another king without first deciding whether it is possible with his ten thousand troops to face the twenty thousand troops of the other? And if he decides he can't, won't he send an emissary and work out a truce? "Simply put, if you're not willing to take what is dearest to you, whether plans or people, and kiss it good-bye, you can't be my disciple. "Salt is excellent. But if the salt goes flat, it's useless, good for nothing. "Are you listening to this? Really listening?"
Luke 14:25-34 (MSG)
Many are willing to come to Jesus, yet they never count the cost. There is a cheap grace that is being taught by so many in the church. It is commonly taught that it wont cost you a thing, just say this little prayer and you will be saved. However, that is not what Jesus taught, He said that if you refuse to put Him first, if you are unwilling to give up family, friends, and yes your own life also, you CANNOT be His disciple. The common trend today is that people want Jesus, but they want Him on their terms. They want to serve their own will, they tell Him what they will and will not do, rather than to say , "Hey Jesus, here I am, you lead and I will follow." Those who preach the Gospel are to blame a lot of the time, they preach a cheap grace, saying come to Jesus and he will give you eternal life, all you have to do is believe. They fail to tell you that it will cost you dearly. You must give Him your entire life. Most people who come to Jesus are in it to receive something. They don't want to go to hell, they want something for nothing. What if there were no promise of heaven or eternal life, would they still serve Him? Would they follow Him just because He is God and they love Him with all their being? I seriously doubt it! What if suddenly, you woke up and were going through trials similar to those of Job. Suppose you were at work one day and you got a call telling you that your son was in a bad car accident and he went into a coma, and then you get another call telling you that your daughter had been raped and severely beaten and she is in the hospital in intensive care, then before you have the chance to mourn for your son and daughter, you are told that your house just burned down and the insurance wont cover it, would you still serve God, or would you curse Him to His face. What did Job do?
Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD
Job 1:20-21 (KJV)
Wow! Could you bless God under these circumstances? How could Job still bless the Lord after all that he went through in verses 13-19? Job served God and loved Him not because of what the Lord had blessed him with, but because He was God. Read Job 1:8-12
And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.
Job 1:8-12 (KJV)
God said to Satan, "Have you noticed my friend Job? There's no one quite like him-honest and true to his word, totally devoted to God and hating evil." Satan retorted, "So do you think Job does all that out of the sheer goodness of his heart? Why, no one ever had it so good! You pamper him like a pet, make sure nothing bad ever happens to him or his family or his possessions, bless everything he does-he can't lose! "But what do you think would happen if you reached down and took away everything that is his? He'd curse you right to your face, that's what." God replied, "We'll see. Go ahead-do what you want with all that is his. Just don't hurt him." Then Satan left the presence of God.
Job 1:8-12 (MSG)
Now satan believed that Job served God because of what the Lord had blessed him with. However, God had faith in Job. He knew that Job was upright and would still serve Him if he had nothing, even if he lost everything that he had. What about you? What is God's testimony concerning you? Does He have faith that you would still serve Him if suddenly you lost everything He had blessed you with? Many would use the excuse that, oh times were different, or Job didn't have the same problems I have. However, what does the Bible say?
And when the people saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in the speech of Lycaonia, The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men. And they called Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercurius, because he was the chief speaker. Then the priest of Jupiter, which was before their city, brought oxen and garlands unto the gates, and would have done sacrifice with the people. Which when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out, And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein:
Acts 14:11-15 (KJV)
When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they went wild, calling out in their Lyconian dialect, "The gods have come down! These men are gods!" They called Barnabas "Zeus" and Paul "Hermes" (since Paul did most of the speaking). The priest of the local Zeus shrine got up a parade-bulls and banners and people lined right up to the gates, ready for the ritual of sacrifice. When Barnabas and Paul finally realized what was going on, they stopped them. Waving their arms, they interrupted the parade, calling out, "What do you think you're doing! We're not gods! We are men just like you, and we're here to bring you the Message, to persuade you to abandon these silly god-superstitions and embrace God himself, the living God. We don't make God; he makes us, and all of this-sky, earth, sea, and everything in them.
Acts 14:11-15 (MSG)
Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.
James 5:17 (KJV)
Elijah, for instance, human just like us, prayed hard that it wouldn't rain, and it didn't-not a drop for three and a half years.
James 5:17 (MSG)
Many look at those we read about in the Bible and put them on some kind of pedestal as though they were gods or something. The Bible tells us that they were just mere men as we are. They were just as human as us. They did not have some God given power which enabled them to walk uprightly and depart from evil. They made the choice to follow God! We are capable of making the same choice to follow God as they had made. Why don't we quit looking to those we read about in the Bible as if they were some sort of super -humans, and start serving the God they served in the same self sacrificial way in which they served Him. I firmly believe that if we would serve God in a self sacrificial way, we would see less people falling away and making foolish statements like "I tried this Jesus thing and it did not work for me". It is time to quit serving God to see what we could get out of it and start serving Him because we love Him and don't care if we were ever to receive anything from Him. It is time to start following the example of Paul, who said prefer others before self. Stop trying the Jesus thing and fall in love with the God who created you and sent His only Son to live a sinless life and die for a sinful world.
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