Hebrews 10:39, Matthew 22:36-40, Matthew 16:24-27, Matthew 28:18-20
This month has been a great month to reflect on what it means to be relentless, be pursued and loved by Christ relentlessly and examples of times in Scripture where someone was relentless in some way. Man, I’ve enjoyed this study and I feel much more equipped to face 2016 armed with Scripture and teaching from my favorite women about how to be relentless. I hope you have too and thank you for taking this journey with us. As we bring this month to a close, I have a challenge for you. And this challenge comes in the form of an adverb.
Don’t remember what an adverb is? I had to go back to grammar class too. An adverb is a word or phrase that modifies or qualifies an adjective, verb, or other adverb or a word group. Adverbs help us explain the manner, place, time, frequency, degree and level of certainty to the words that we place them before.
Why the grammar lesson? Since God put the word relentless on my heart for this year, I have felt a call to put two little letters at the end of my word and place it before verbs to enhance their meaning.
Oh how that changes, enhances, and deepens the meaning of any verb, adjective or word group. But what does Scripture say about this call to relentlessness? How can I follow Jesus, love, disciple and persevere relentlessly? That’s what we’re going to look to Scripture for today. I hope these passages encourage you to place an “above status quo” adverb before the things we are called to do and seek as believers.
The Call to Relentlessly Follow (Matthew 16:24-27)
24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life[g] will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?
This call to radical faith and obedience is found a several places in the Gospels: Matthew (10:38, 16:24), Mark (8:34), and Luke (9:23, 14:27). Could you imagine what it would’ve been like as one of Jesus’ disciples to hear these words come from His lips just shortly after predicting his death to them?
I can’t personally imagine the heaviness of that moment when they heard those words but I was convicted to “count my cost” as I took a look at the last reference of these words in Luke and as Jesus speaks specifically to the cost of being a disciple:
25 Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, 26 “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. 27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28 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? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 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? 32 And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:25-33)
A builder has to sit down and estimate the cost of building a tower. What if he lays the foundation but doesn’t have the resources to finish it? Or what about a king going to war with another king? He must sit down and make sure he has the men he needs to oppose the one coming against him, right?
In the same way, I must sit down and consider that following Jesus requires sacrifice. It means I’m called to more than a mediocre faith and a mediocre pursuit of my Creator. Denying my selfish desires, taking up my cross and following Him requires a relentless sacrifice.
I’m called to relentlessly love:
36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:36-40)
I’m called to relentlessly persevere:
But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls. (Hebrews 10:39)
I’m called to relentlessly make disciples:
18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
As I sit down and consider counting my own cost as the builder and the kind did in the metaphors Jesus shared, I’m reminded of “my anthem” worship song of 2014 – Oceans. As we consider the areas of our lives where He is calling us to place the word relentlessly, let this be our prayer:
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders. Let me walk upon the waters wherever You will call me. Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander, and my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Savior. (Oceans, Hillsong)