Following Jesus. That is the simple way to break down what Christianity is about. The question that I have been wrestling with lately is, is it really as easy as the American church says it is to follow Jesus? I believe that the answer is no. Following Jesus is no light and minor endeavor.
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. Matthew 16:24
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness. Matthew 7:21-23
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish. Luke 14:26-33
To truly follow Jesus one must surrender everything to Jesus. Sins; bad habits, impure thoughts, selfishness, pride, arrogance. He demands and deserves all of us. Matthew 7:21-23 is a very sobering passage. Many who claim that they are Christians, even some that do works for the kingdom of God, will not enter heaven. The road is narrow. Sin should break our heart, though as I find is the case in my own life, it is so easy to be desensitized to my own faults. It is easy for me to be lulled into complacency in my relationship with God and not take the time necessary to strengthen it. I don’t want to be one of those people that goes before God in Matthew 7:21-23 and Him to tell me that He never knew me.
Luke 14 states clearly that Jesus wants to be the most important part of our life. Above everything we should follow Him at all cost! No matter what happens to us: persecution, betrayal, being disowned by those that we love. These are all real prices that people have had to pay to follow Jesus. One question that burns in my heart when reading that passage is Am I willing to endure and suffer for the sake of Jesus? Am I willing to let go of the comforts of living in America, my possessions? Am I willing to put it all on the line for Jesus? I can if I truly count the cost of following him and realize like Paul did that suffering in the present age, will be nothing to the reward that true Christ-followers will experience in heaven.
These thoughts have been stirred up in my heart, thanks to the Lord and a book called “Follow Me” by David Platt. I have only read the first 15 pages so far, but God is challenging my thinking on what it really means to follow Him.
Time to walk that narrow road of obedience and follow Jesus, knowing that it might cost me everything and that’s ok with me.