Today we’re sharing an excerpt from Christine Hoover’s new study, Seek First the Kingdom. Order your copy or see a free sample today at lifeway.com/seekfirst.
Our idea of following and serving Jesus—our idea of the blessed life, for that matter—doesn’t always align with what Jesus has told His followers. How could what is right and true be so costly and difficult? In response, Jesus continually calls us to look forward and to remember that this earthly kingdom is quickly passing away. There is full, eternal life ahead, and in the kingdom of God, everything done in Jesus’ name is seen and will be rewarded.
As Jesus sent His disciples out among the wolves, His parting words to them centered around this theme: cost and reward.
In Matthew 10:40-42, Jesus said to His disciples that just as He was intimately connected to and identified with His Father, they were intimately connected to and identified with both King Jesus and God the Father. There was no distinction; they couldn’t be separated out. They were united with Christ, enveloped within the love, protection, attributes, and power of the triune God.
We, too, as followers of Jesus are united with Him. While living temporarily in the earthly kingdom, this comes with cost. … How some people have responded to Jesus—with doubt, skepticism, anger, and wariness—is how they will respond to those identified with Him. What Jesus faces—the cross—is what the disciples face in some lesser form.
However, there is a reward that far outweighs the cost for those who are united with Christ. In this life, there is both cost and reward. But in the kingdom to come, there is only reward, no cost. And in this reward, we will live eternally with our King.
In no uncertain terms, Jesus told the disciples that what was His was also theirs. And because they were willing to endure the costs that pledging allegiance to Him meant, He would proclaim each of them as His before the Father He loves (v. 32). He would name and acknowledge what they did in His name and what they would endure because of Him. He would express in words what was already true: each one of His followers was intimately tied to Him.
Just think of it: as followers of Jesus, we’ll one day hear of His undying love for us as He speaks it before the Father!
There are costs to following and serving Jesus, because there were costs for Him in coming to earth and proclaiming the kingdom, and we’re identified with Him. But because He endured the cross, the cost of His life is what brought many sons and daughters to glory (Heb. 2:10) and what enables us to walk in freedom from condemnation and wholeheartedly live for Him. We’re loved and approved of by God the Father because we’re identified with the Son. This sets the costs of a godly life in perspective, as well as great joy in our hearts.
Want to learn more about Seek First the Kingdom? Watch the short video below or view a free sample and teaching video clips at lifeway.com/seekfirst.
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