Prayer Focus: Russia

Bible Reading: Matthew 8:18-34; 9:18-38; Mark 4:35-5:43; Luke 8:22-56; 9:57-62

Scripture

Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.

As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”

Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:23-24, 57, 62)

Observation

When people wanted to follow Him, He said that they must first die. He raised the bar, making it more difficult for them to follow Him, not easier. He didn’t provide a smooth sales presentation or a brochure with the five best reasons to join His club. He made it clear that we can serve the LORD or serve ourselves, but not both.

Application

Leaders today will do just about anything to attract a crowd and increase the number of people that follow them. Jesus did the opposite. He tried to dissuade seekers from following Him!

It is tempting to develop an audience, whether it is for a church, a civic organization, or even a blog or Twitter account. More important is to follow Jesus and help others follow Him, both of which begin with death to ourselves and total surrender to Him.

Prayer

LORD, I say that I want to follow You, but what I really mean is I want to follow You when it is safe, comfortable, profitable, and popular to do so. I want to follow You when it is easy and instantly beneficial. I want to see instant results from our relationship. Because I know that is not how You operate, I ask Your forgiveness for my selfish attitude. Help me to want to want You. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

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