Obedience despite Dangers

Matt Kesler Blog, Youth Leave a Comment

What is it in your life that could be a potential danger? Have you actually thought through that? What even is a danger? Is danger confined to your life being threatened or could it go deeper than that?

In Matthew 2:13-18, we see Joseph faced an extreme danger. When Herod heard that there was a child that was born (Jesus) that would become a king, he became furious. Herod was king and nobody, especially a baby was going to threaten his throne. In response to this news, Herod decided to issue a decree for any child in that region, under the age of 2, to be executed. Joseph was facing the danger of his child’s life being threatened. So what did he do in response to this danger? He’s obedient. He listened to the angel of the Lord, didn’t ask any questions, took his family, and fled to Egypt. There was a danger, but Joseph was obedient despite the danger.

When speaking to our students, I brought up a list of dangers that they face everyday. But in my time praying and preparing, I kept coming back to the danger of wasting your life by wasting your time. In our Western Christianity, most of us won’t have our lives threatened. Our culture is saturated with dangers that can be stealthy; easily sneaking into our lives without us being fully aware. There is the danger of comfort. At first, we desire to live a decent lifestyle. Some nice furniture, a few trendy electronics. Nice clothing. The list goes on. If we’re not careful, than those comforts can slowly creep in, become a priority, and become a danger in our lives. Sneaky. But what about time? How on earth is that a danger?

Take a moment and think how you spend your time throughout your day. How many hours are spent working? How many hours are spent with family? How often are you on your phone? How often are you reading? Eating? Watching the News (students don’t do this so our example was Netflix/Xbox). You get where I’m going with this. We watched a video describing how the average American spends his/her time; it was fascinating. After watching the video, we talked about things that were naturally going to take up our time: sleeping, eating, going to the bathroom, school (a few audible groans with this one). But what about our extra time? How were we spending this time? When our heads hit the pillow that night, did we waste our day by sitting in front of a television for 4 hours? Did we engage with our friends or family? How were we living with purpose throughout the day? We took it deeper. How did we make time to reflect on who Jesus is? We say we never have time. But, we all know that we make time for the things we want to make time for. I communicated that there is a danger in wasting our time. In doing so, we are not being obedient to the life that Jesus has called us to live. We are not being obedient. Now, watching TV, playing Xbox, getting on Facebook/Instagram, etc. aren’t bad things. Not at all. But, if these things take up most of our time, I would argue that we are wasting our time and not being obedient to the life Jesus has called us to live. So, Matt, what did you communicate to my child what obedient really is?

Let me direct your attention to Matthew 28:19-20:

“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

We are obedient by making disciples. I had some glazed looks after I made this statement. Instead of just tossing that statement around and assuming they knew what it meant, we broke that word down. The technical definition of a disciple is: “someone who acknowledges the teachings of another. It is a follower or learner. Someone who takes up the ways of someone else.” So, in the life of a middle schooler, a high schooler, a college student, or, as I like to call them “real adults” do we live as disciples of Jesus? How are we obedient to what Jesus has communicated to us? We broke this down even further into three attributes of a disciple: worshiper, servant, and witness.

Worshiper

Worship is reflecting on the radiance of Jesus. Worship isn’t confined to singing songs on Sundays. Worship is that, but isn’t confined to that. Worship is reading your Bible. Worship is sitting, being still in the presence of Jesus. Worship is prayer. Worship is obedience. But worship first comes from a heart that has been changed by the grace of Jesus Christ. Disciples of Jesus spend time worshipping.

Servants

If you’ve read any of the New Testament, you can clearly see that Jesus didn’t come to be served, but to serve people around him. As a disciple of Jesus, I am asked, by God, to be a servant to him and to those around me. The question I asked our students is: “How are you putting other’s needs before your own?” We live in a culture that is screaming to grow your network, promote your brand, self help, luxuries to rejuvenate, yet all of these things ultimately point back to a “me, me, me” thought process. Don’t make service so difficult. Service can be shoveling your neighbors driveway when it snows. Service can be paying for someone’s coffee next time you step into a local coffee shop. As Christians and Disciples of Jesus, being a servant comes from a heart of worship. A heart that has ben changed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Witness

Being a disciple means being a witness. Isn’t the job of sharing Jesus confined to the super Christians? The ones that are over sees in the middle of nowhere sacrificing their lives for Christ? This thought, might provoke a subtle chuckle, but that’s because we have all been guilty of thinking that. When we think of sharing our faith with others and being a witness for Christ, we sink back into our comfortable shell of showing up to church, small group, and the occasional mission trip. Well, I’m here to rattle your cage, because as a disciple of Christ, we are called to be a witness with our words and our actions. We can’t be a witness unless we’ve first had a heart that has been changed by Christ which leads us into a place of worship. From a state of our lives being a worship driven one, we can be a servant to others. When people see that we care about them by serving them as Jesus would have, we can be a witness.

We overcomplicate what a disciple of Christ is. Because of dangers in our life, we are kept from living the life the Jesus desires for us.

Joseph faced a danger yet he was obedient. When you face the danger of wasting your time, how will you respond? Will you continue to live a life of obedience? Will you live like a disciple? Or are you comfortable not being stretched and challenged in your faith? We have this one life. But this is a question we should constantly be thinking about.

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