Jesus and Janis

July 19th, 2008 • Category: Gospel of Luke
by Keith Phillips

Today’s scripture: Luke 14:25-33 (ESV-text and audio) (KJV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (Keith Phillips):

As I read today’s Bible passage, the phrase that I heard repeated (exactly three times) was: “Whoever does not…, cannot be my disciple.”

At first, I wondered that maybe God should have sent a better salesperson for the Good News which was being proclaimed to humanity. What a horribly negative way to present the best that God has to offer! If I don’t give up everything, I can’t be Jesus’ disciple? Who would want to follow this guy?

But then I remembered a long time ago, when Middle Earth was young… or soon afterward, Kris Kristofferson wrote a tune that no one could sing quite like Janis Joplin: Me and Bobby McGee. One of the lines which has become almost scripture for me goes like this: “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.”

When put like that, I understand Jesus a whole lot better. I really do want to be free, free to be the person God created me to be, free to express to others unconditional love of God who touched me and made me whole, free to enjoy life in this world without fear, shame, guilt, or worry. I really do want to be free. But what’s preventing me from being free? Things like divided loyalties, expectations and pressure from those whom I care about, self-imposed barriers, selfish desires, my sincere but deluded belief that things and experiences can make me happy.

All Jesus is saying is, “Put me first. I will set you free, and everything else will fall into place.” I have found that it’s a process that starts with a decision to let Jesus be my Lord and to be a disciple of Jesus. That’s kind of theoretical until the time comes when we need to choose Christ over family, possessions, or self. But it’s also a journey we take one step at a time with the Holy Spirit of Jesus walking right beside us to empower us. So we can let go of all that stuff, and we have nothing left to lose.

Thought for the day: “Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1)

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading.  If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

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