The cost of belonging

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Song line: I am Thine, O Lord…

We continue today our series on the Fanny Crosby song: “Draw me nearer”. In the last post I suggested reflecting on ‘what it takes to belong to Yahuah’. What it means to make the cry to draw nearer to His cross. This post considers the real cost of belonging to Elohim.

Yahusha speaks about this cost in Luke 14. The Message Bible puts it like this: “Anyone who comes to me but refuses to let go of father, mother, spouse, children, brothers, sisters—yes, even one’s own self!—can’t be my disciple….Simply put, if you’re not willing to take what is dearest to you, whether plans or people, and kiss it good-bye, you can’t be my disciple”. Luke 14:26 & 33.

This is the true cost of belonging. This is what we’re actually signing up for when we sing: “I am Thine” (and songs like it!). When Peter questioned Yahusha on what His disciples, His ‘taught ones’ get in return (Matt. 19:27), Yahusha’s response is our encouragement and hope. “… no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake...he shall receive a hundred times as much now in the present age...and in the age to come, eternal life.” (Mark 10:29-30 - NASB). And again: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you”. Matt. 6:33

I should perhaps insert a caveat here though. When we do lay down what He asks, although Yahuah always keeps His promise and does indeed bless us - we don’t always perceive it. We might expect blessings to come in a material form for instance, when He’s looking to bless us spiritually (i.e. with deliverance, being set apart to Him, or with a greater knowledge or experience of Him).

Abraham is an example to help us understand both the cost of the ‘I am Thine’ as well as the blessings. In Gen. 12:1 we read: “Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee.”

Leave dad. Leave the security of your home. Say goodbye to aunties and nephews - and start walking. I won’t tell you where you’re headed just yet, Abram - simply go. A large test of faith - but Abram (mostly) did it.

I say ‘mostly’ as he didn’t get it 100% correct at first. Consider for instance that he took Lot with him in disobedience to one part of Yahuah’s instruction (Lot was a part of the ‘thy father’s house’) and had to be prised loose from him in Genesis 13. What does this show us? It teaches about some of the struggles we’ll encounter in fulfilling our side of ‘I am Thine’. It also shows Yahuah’s faithfulness in getting us to the place where we eventually do so - so that He in turn can FULLY accomplish His side of the promise (Gen. 22:11-18).

And the promise to Abram? “...I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing;”. Gen. 12:2-3. Not a promise that Abraham saw fulfilled in his lifetime (Heb. 11:13), but one He faithfully believed (Gen. 15:6) and one marvellously answered nonetheless (Gal 3:7-9,29).

Would you leave mum and dad, brother, sister or friends - if Yahuah asked? Would you be willing to make the sacrifice of not being with your wife and children for a year if sent onto the mission field for this time?

Are you celebrating Yahuah’s feasts as He commanded us to do in Leviticus 23? Feasts such as the Sabbath, Passover and Tabernacles. If you do observe them as He instructs, then they open up the mountains of blessings associated with each one. Celebrating Yahuah’s feasts, His appointed times, are in fact one of the key ways that we do our part of the ‘I am Thine’, as well as the means by which Yahuah in turn answers our cry of ‘draw me nearer’.

As an example, Passover (beginning 19 April 2019) is without doubt the most powerful time of the year to be drawn nearer to Yahuah and to fulfil our declaration of ‘I am Thine’. When we celebrate it, through Yahusha’s sacrifice on the cross, Yahuah breaks the yokes entrapping us, sets us apart for Him and cleanses us (Ex. 6:6-8) - preparing the way for continuing that ‘drawing nearer to Him’ and the power and blessings that come through the rest of the feasts.

So, what are you willing to do (or not do), to gain Christ?

“But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ (Phil. 3:7-10 - NASB)

In Romans 1:1, Paul describes himself as a ‘bond-servant’ (NASB) of Yahusha Messiah. The Greek is ‘doulos’ which means ‘slave’. One completely owned by and a possession of Yahusha Messiah.

This is the ‘I am Thine’. It’s both the cost and the blessing. We sincerely sing and desire to be drawn ‘closer to His bleeding side, closer to the cross where He died’ - but have we sat down and counted the cost as Yahusha told us to in Luke 14?

Ask yourself the question today: Have I taken the steps I need to take, to fully belong to Him?