Sunday, December 2, 2012

Learning To Fly: Ground School

Ever been to a concert of your favorite artist and it made you want to sing, or play the guitar, or "that" instrument? I wonder how many instruments and lessons are sold as a result of that kind of influence. I know why I bought my first guitar. Guys thought it was cool, and girls, cooler. I felt the same way about baseball. Except it was even deeper. I love the game. it has a "smell", a certain feel. it has a nostalgia with which no other sport can even compare. But, my poor vision stifled my hidden talent ...just boiling under the surface! My eyes didn't cooperate with my hand's and heart's passion for the game. And my childhood pride refused to dawn a pair of spectacles. How foolish! Most recently, I enjoyed an air show at an Air Force Base. It was phenomenal! It was awe inspiring! I knew I couldn't fly like those guys, but it renewed the old love for flying. A close friend turned my wife and I onto the beautiful art of flying many years ago, but I quickly learned that a great deal of work and knowledge go into experiencing that joy. I could at least learn to fly! Had the air show been in my home town I'd have likely signed up for flying lessons at the local booth. 

We naturally calculate, it seems, the cost of learning an art or particular skill, but I wonder if we consider how much work, preparation, sacrifice of time and all our resources go into following Christ?

Are you considering following Christ? Be warned!
"And he said to all, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?" (Luke 9:23-25)
Sincerely and genuinely following Christ will cost you. If not your physical life then, to varying degrees, your proverbial life. Our lives will, all of us, ultimately be demanded of us. Question is.... for what will we sacrifice it?

Already following Christ? committed.
"Jesus said to him, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God." (Luke 9:62)
This saying is true.... "What doesn't cost something is worth nothing." James said.... "So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead." Listen to what Luke continues in his gospel.

"Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish.' Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple."       -Luke 14:25-33

There are truths we can learn from these Scriptures, and they make following Christ a worthwhile endeavor; a worthwhile sacrifice.

1. Count the cost (v. 26)
-How bad do you want it?
-It is expensive.
-Following Christ may, indeed, cost family, friends, a good name. It may cost your credit score and your American dream.

2. Consider the cross (v. 27)
-Why do you want it?
-What motivates you to follow Christ? Is it social involvement? Is it your own need? Or is it because you believe that He is Lord? Social balance or selfish need will not convince you to pick up your cross. Recognizing who Jesus is, and His love for us, will.
    Your cross is testament to Jesus' cross. (vv. 28-30)
    Your cross is testament to Christ' cross' value. (vv. 31-32)

3. But don't count it loss (v. 33)
-Why would you go into battle ....unless by sheer force, or a courage of conviction, a hill worth dying on, a Savior worth sacrificing for.
"but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint."
-Isaiah 40:31

Learn to spread your wings, powered by the Holy Spirit, underwritten by God, provided to you by Jesus Christ. It's the only thing truly worth investing everything in.