I've recently been introduced to author Wayne Cordeiro. After reading his book, The Divine Mentor, I want to try keeping a journal using his style. He has a Bible reading plan and suggests writing a response journal at the end of each reading. The entry would follow the acrostic SOAP which stands for Scripture (reference), Observation, Application, and Prayer. Here is my first entry.
Scripture: Lu. 14:33
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.
In the verses before this one, Jesus had been sharing illustrations of things that can keep us from following him, actually make it impossible to follow him. They include family we need to let go of, refusing to deny ourselves or let go of self, and plans that we would be foolish to go ahead with. A plan to build needs careful calculation before you start so you are not embarrassed by lack of funds before you finish. A decision to go to war only makes sense if you are in the better position for winning; if not you should call a truce. In these cases the letting go is of a new house dream and a glorious victory, both very dear plans to people.
This reading fits in very well with the teaching I received in Peacemaker Ministries about idols in our lives. Idols are wants or needs we turn into demands that when unmet cause us bitterness and resentment. They can keep us from peace and joy and quickly become our master. How foolish for someone to go ahead and finance that new house without the income to support it or to boast about success of any kind, without the means to carry it out. Isn't that behavior showing a idolatrous mentality? I will push ahead for what I want or deserve, no matter the consequences. Bringing it closer to home for me, what about the times I am preoccupied with assessing or controlling relationships that are dear to me? My thoughts reel dizzily in the spin cycle; thoughts like- have I given enough? Am I loved like I want to be loved?
Jesus, help me to be willing to kiss the dearest things to me goodbye. I don't want to hold onto anything that would cause interference in my communication with the Holy Spirit. This doesn't mean those I love will receive less of me, but they'll have the healthy, undivided me who is perfectly balanced in You.