Yesterday’s scripture was this:

“If you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple. But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you. They would say, ‘There’s the person who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!’”

     Luke 14:27-30 NLT

The phrase “everyone would laugh at you” jumped out at me like a fart in church.

Isn’t it true that we consider ourselves to be more advanced, more astute, more discerning, more civilized, and cultivated than those people who lived in history?

All of our technological advancements and scientific breakthroughs and medical knowledge and every other development in our modern world—it certainly gives us a leg up on Greek and Roman times.

Doesn’t it?

Then why does the threat of everyone laughing at us still carry weight? Why do we still worry about what everyone else thinks of us?

Perhaps we’re not so different. Perhaps we’re exactly the same as the people as in Jesus’ time, just with better air conditioning.

If other people’s thoughts about us can be worrying, then where can we turn for encouragement?

Turning to ourselves is a crapshoot. Let’s face it: We’re fickle. We can be, “Go Team Steve!” one minute and “Why am I such an idiot?” the next. Even the Apostle Paul complained that he’d do those things he hated, and not do what was good.

So who CAN we turn to? God?

Perhaps that depends on your picture of God. How you view him.

If you see God as The Umpire who is hovering and waiting for you to commit a foul so he can slam you with the Ban-Hammer, that isn’t a person to turn to for encouragement.

If you see God as The Cheerleader who stands on the sideline and cheers no matter what you do, then all you’d expect from God is empty words and platitudes.

If you see God as The Coach then you might feel like you never measure up.

Which also leads to an interesting thought: How can you let God down? You were never holding him up in the first place.

The relationship God wants to have with you is as your friend. Isn’t that crazy?

In Isaiah 41:8 God himself refers to Abraham—the guy God picked to form a covenant with—as “my friend”. In John 15:12-17 Jesus called the disciples his friends.

Friend. Confidant. Companion. Ally. The kind of person who laughs WITH you, not AT you. Who wants things FOR you, not FROM you.

Jesus gives us a picture in John 15 of what it takes to be his friend. That’s what the entire chapter leans into. But the Cliff’s Notes version would be verse 14: “You are my friends if you do what I command.”

Today, turn to God for encouragement. But don’t simply turn to God to be encouraged—turn TO God. When you do, he will turn to you. As your friend, your confidant, your companion and ally. Make yourselves at home with God, and his words at home in you.

That’s worship.

–Pastor Steve.