Hebrews 10:19-22 (NLT) And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.
Who doesn’t like new? The new car smell is exciting until the payment book arrives in the mail. The new way is good until it becomes mundane. The televisions entertains with new offers and billions of dollars poured into advertising to grab public attention to come shop for more. New is only for a moment if you think about it. Once attained, that “thing” that was new quickly becomes old. A new thing often comes with a cost. A new way comes only with change. If you think about it for a moment, we want new things and new ways but seldom consider the cost or change that must come with it.
Jesus opened a new and life-giving way. It requires a cost and change to attain it. He paid the price for our sin with His Blood. He changed our worship to become about surrender rather than sacrifice. Sin no longer cost us our life but grace welcomes surrender. Are you walking in the new and life-giving way? Do you feel confident that you can have all that God promised in His Word to those He calls His Children? Can you go into the Presence of God with a sincere heart fully trusting Him? We can boldly enter Heaven’s Most Holy Place which is the Throne Room of our Most High God with Jesus seated at His Right Hand. As a born-again believer covered in the Blood of Jesus and walking in His Grace, I can come to the Father with every request fully trusting that He will hear my cries and answer my call…but do I do it? Will I walk in the new and life-giving way today? Or every day? Are you tired of a mundane life? Does it seem like it is the same stuff and situations all the time? Are you stuck in a rut?
Luke 14:26-30 (NLT) “If you want to be my disciple, you must, by comparison, hate everyone else—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple. But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you. They would say, ‘There’s the person who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!’”
When I was much younger, I judged my parents severely. Married and divorced at a young age with two small children and just barely adults themselves, I didn’t realize how harshly that I had judged them. I wanted to be the perfect wife and perfect mother, but found it be impossible myself. In a similar situation and making many of the same mistakes, it wasn’t until I came to Jesus and finally gave Him my life completely that I could finally see. Nobody’s perfect. The grace afforded me, I must give to others. Though it is human nature to try to trust other people fully, they are going to let you down. We must put our trust in Jesus and discard all the other expectations of others.
I remember when our son was diagnosed with cancer and my dad was coming to see his grandson in the hospital. I had been in the throes of caregiver long enough to dry up my tears, trust the Lord and continue to march on. But when my dad let me know that he was coming, my heart quaked a little. He is my dad. I needed to hug my father and hear him say that it would be okay. When he called to say that he was in the lobby, I rushed down to see him. I looked all around for my dad ready to run to him. What I found was a broken man with his head buried in his arms sobbing. He was overwhelmed with sadness for his grandson. I sat down, put my arm around him and began to encourage him. Though he is my father, in that moment, for that season, I had to trust the Lord to quiet my heart, soothe my soul and be my portion.
Love and hate are opposites. I don’t think Jesus was implying that we should hate our parents, family or friends to take up our cross and follow Him. If we are not willing to give up everything we love including our own life to follow Jesus then, for us, the price is too high. The new, life-giving way promised to us comes through discipleship and following Jesus which means that our trust and expectation can no longer be in those around us but to the One who lives inside of us. It will cost you everything to follow Jesus. Have you counted the cost? It means that we must love, forgive, and say farewell to many other “things” including people choosing to love the Lord more than anyone else in our life. It relieves people of our expectation as we yoke our whole life to Jesus and carry the cross laid upon us by His Love.
2 Corinthians 3:9-12 (NLT) If the old way, which brings condemnation, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new way, which makes us right with God! In fact, that first glory was not glorious at all compared with the overwhelming glory of the new way. So if the old way, which has been replaced, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new, which remains forever! Since this new way gives us such confidence, we can be very bold.
The new way of life given to us by Jesus is called freedom. No longer condemned by our sin because of His Grace, we can live a glorious life again despite human imperfection. The problem is that most people expect the Lord to meet us where we are rather than running to where He is. Our life must change to accept the new way of living that we have been offered. If the Lord forces us to live in the new way, it is no longer freedom but becomes bondage all over again. The devil cannot make you do anything you do not want to do. The Holy Spirit will not make you do anything that you do not want to do. You are free to live however you choose. So when we don’t like the way things are going – it is up to us to choose a new way.
We are offered overwhelming glory as we take up our cross and follow Christ. To expect a new way of life doing all the same things is ridiculous. To do the same thing and expect different results is called insanity. People do it every day. We must become confident that the new way is worth having so we will walk in it. If we do, we will become bold in our confidence. Confidence in the Lord will change our life for the better because confident people will choose to follow God. Counting the cost ahead of time and deciding – it’s going to be worth it. It is going to be worth it all.
2 Timothy 1:9-10 (NLT) For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus. And now he has made all of this plain to us by the appearing of Christ Jesus, our Savior. He broke the power of death and illuminated the way to life and immortality through the Good News.
We are ordained by God and granted access by Jesus to live a holy life. Not a religious existence but a life of holiness. Why? Holiness connects us with the Lord by reliance on His Grace alone. Righteousness allows us to become holy again. Our life should reflect the grace given to us in every way. By submitting to the authority of Jesus as Lord and surrendering our heart to Him as Savior, it is possible to enter the Highway of Holiness and live there successfully. Outside of Jesus – it is all just religious and pious acts of false worship.
“Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14) A holy life is one defined by discipleship. It is no longer about what I want or how I feel but trusting the Lord to meet those needs and desires while I demonstrate the new way with my life. A holy life is not a perfect life. It is not a sinless one either. A holy life is to dedicate and devote our life to serving the Lord. It is to strive to be godly like our Father in Heaven and accepting His Grace when we fall short. To have a spiritually pure quality. This is achieved by the washing of God’s Word that releases the impurities of our heart, mind and soul by changing the way we think so our attitude and actions follow suit. (Romans 12:2) It is life in the Spirit of God using His Guidance and Instruction to walk in God’s Ways. (Romans 7:5-6)
2 Corinthians 4:1 (NLT) Therefore, since God in his mercy has given us this new way, we never give up.
2 Corinthians 4:6-9 (NLT) For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.
God has given us a new way. Are we walking in it? When He decided to light the way for us, God gave His Son, Jesus. Jesus put the same light in us so now we are the light of the world likened to a city on a hill. Is your light so shining before men that the love of God is revealed and men praise Him for it? Until you and I become confident in the investment that God has made in us including our mind, soul and body choosing to live true to it, we will not experience the glorious life promised those who do. Are you willing to count the cost and take up your cross to follow Jesus? Are you willing to change from your way to His Way?
Scientifically, it is believed that it takes 21 days to change a habit. To retrain our mind to do something new on a regular basis. A habit is an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become involuntary. Could it be that if we decided to do things His Way for 21 days, it would become independent of our will and we could live in God’s Will? I wonder what 21 consistent days of getting up early to read God’s Word and pray might do? How about not watching that television show that feeds our flesh but not our spirit? Whatever that “thing” is hindering you from a closer walk with God. What if it was left undone for just 21 days…would it make a difference? I believe it would. If not, you can surely go right back to life as usual. If the supernatural is what you are after though, it is the beginning of faith and freedom forever. We must count the cost. We must become confident in our belief. We must change our ways to see the Glory of God in our life.
Psalm 119:57-60 (NLT) Lord, you are mine! I promise to obey your words! With all my heart I want your blessings. Be merciful as you promised. I pondered the direction of my life, and I turned to follow your laws. I will hurry, without delay, to obey your commands.