Water for the Thirsty
Weekly Devotional

Water for the Thirsty

Giving up our security

Weekly Devotional

‘As the deer pants for streams of water so my soul pants for you, O God’. (Psalm 42:1)
‘…Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink”…’ (John 7:37)

11th April 2010

Sometimes it seems like you need therapy before switching on the television news, or reading the latest top story in the daily paper. It can become very draining by the daily arrival of yet more apocalyptic headlines.

But here’s some encouragement: the Bible was written mostly to people who were battling persecution, exile, economic turbulence and a myriad of other struggles.

In other words, it’s a vitally relevant message to people under pressure.

Christians are certainly not exempt from pressure – and some of us are experiencing greater stress because we are followers of Christ.

That was Levi’s experience.

‘After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. "Follow me," Jesus said to him, and Levi got up, left everything and followed him. Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, "Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and 'sinners'?" Jesus answered them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." (Luke 5:27-32)

Levi was a well-heeled, ‘fat cat’ tax collector with a big income; he had a palatial house and endless resources. He was a bit like a modern day banker. A large crowd came to the meal he provided to honour Jesus and Luke tells us that it was a ‘great’ banquet.

But then he walked away from security and luxury because he wanted to be an apprentice of Jesus.

And, while the fishermen in Jesus’ team occasionally went back to fishing, Levi never returned to his dubious trade.

Some of us will need to give up our lives of ‘security’ to follow Jesus.

Sometimes being a follower of Jesus doesn’t relieve pressure but increases it.

The following passage is under the heading ‘The World Hates the Disciples’

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember the words I spoke to you: 'No servant is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates me hates my Father as well. If I had not done among them what no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. But now they have seen these miracles, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: 'They hated me without reason.' (John 15:18-25)

If we’re in any doubt that it can be difficult to follow Jesus, consider the thousands of persecuted Christians around the world who are suffering bravely because of their love for Christ.

If you have given up your ‘security’ (or fear you will have to) in order to follow Jesus, listen to these encouraging words:

‘Peter answered [Jesus], "We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?" Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first’. (Matthew 19:27–30)

We don’t prove that we have great faith by our ability to steer away from trouble and stress, but by our being able to steer through it, with God’s help.

Let’s thank God that His Word is relevant in our pressured lives, and ask Him to strengthen those who suffer for His name.

Have a good week following Jesus.

Pastor Barry

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