Posted by: pastormikemcdowell | April 15, 2015

April 15, 2015 “Our Spiritual 1040”

“Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)

“Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they were amazed at Him. (Mark 12:17)

Good Morning Prayer Partners!

Well, once again that wonderful day has arrived here in the good old USA…that day we eagerly anticipate each year with bated breath…Tax Day!  It’s a time of calculation…of counting the cost…of “giving to Caesar that which is Caesar’s”. For some, it’s a kind of “good news”, when a portion of those funds that you earned faithfully retained on your behalf by the government are refunded to you. Others, however, may discover that additional funds may be required to meet those financial obligations that come with the privilege of living in the United States.  Now I don’t enjoy paying taxes, nor do I know anyone who would honestly say that they do, but I understand that being a citizen of the greatest nation in the world and enjoying the benefits of that citizenship comes with a cost which I am willing , albeit grudgingly at times, to pay. That’s the understood price of citizenship.

But what of the other “Kingdom” of my duel citizenship…the Kingdom of Christ? What is the price of citizenship I owe? Jesus lays it our clearly in the passage noted above:   “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” Make no mistake. A great debt has already been paid on our behalf…a debt we could never have hoped to repay. Jesus died for us on the cross, obliterating our sin-debt. But there remains a cost of discipleship, and that cost is that we take up our own “cross”...the cross of “self-denial, ” if we are to be His disciple…His student…His follower. Is your spiritual 1040 form filled out properly? Are you willing to pay the price of citizenship demanded to be a follower of Christ? Jesus understood the necessity of paying due taxes to the civil authorities, but he “flips the coin”, so to speak, reminding the scribes, Pharisees, lawgivers…and us…of that which rightly belongs to God.

  Theologian Mark Neilson speaks of the heart of the matter of citizenship in the kingdom as it contrasts with citizenship in the world. He said, 

“Jesus, turns to the issue of “what belongs to God.” Much more important than mere taxation, this is the heart of the matter of our allegiance. Seek the Kingdom of God first, and all these other issues will be resolved as well. 

We know that God’s will includes the daily discipline and privilege of prayer. This is “what belongs to God”, and we should return it with gladness. It’s how we discern His perfect will for our lives. Let’s turn to Him just now and seek his direction for this day. Let’s pray!

Holy and Worthy Lord; Help us to understand the debt that has been paid on our behalf. As we file our spiritual 1040, may we realize the cost of discipleship, that taking up of our cross daily,  comes with many happy returns. Fill us with the joy of the Lord this day, we pray in Jesus’ Blessed name. Amen



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