More than Receiving
Following Jesus is more than about receiving his blessings.
A major portion of contemporary church teaching and culture has its focus on the blessings of the New Covenant.
And to an extent this is right. As disciples of Jesus we are living in God’s grace and are richly blessed. There is godly love, forgiveness, healing, deliverance and potentially the restoration of all areas of life available to anyone who believes.
However, this calls for wisdom.
If we make earthly blessings the primary focus of our message, we are straying from the gospel. And yet, if we make those blessings the goal of discipleship, we are dangerously jeopardizing the mission that Jesus gave us.
Don’t get me wrong, God loves to give and wants us to receive his blessings.
However, you cannot build a healthy relationship around just receiving.
A person who does not know God will not necessarily turn to God just because of having received a miracle. And a person that goes from one miracle service to another will not automatically become a disciple by doing this even more.
It seems that Jesus was aware of this. He didn’t take away people’s responsibility for their faith and he never used a miracle or a promise for tying them to himself or for luring them into discipleship. On the contrary, he pointed to alienation, insecurity, inconvenience, and persecution as the possible consequences of following him.
You cannot bless someone into maturity.
And you can’t bless someone into discipleship.
As a disciple of Jesus, your decision to lay down your life and submit to him must be primary. Earthly benefits are no reliable foundation for such a decision.
If preachers appeal to people’s desire for security, health and comfort, they must continue to meet those needs in order to make those people continue to attend their meetings. And if God fails to meet their expectations, these people may leave and look for another “man of God”. That’s what consumers do, not disciples.
The ultimate goal of following Jesus is not about satisfying our earthly needs. It is to bring glory to God, no matter what our needs or our circumstances.
And by his grace and by the power of his Spirit he will transform and glorify us.
More than we ever can imagine or ask for.