Monthly Archives: July 2011

WHAT IT REALLY MEANS TO FOLLOW JESUS

There is a lot of shallowness in the church today. We’ve become Christians of convenience rather than being Christians of conviction. Statistics show that most Christians are basically clueless about what they believe and why they believe it. As a result biblical holiness is bordering on extinction – the divorce rate, pre-marital sex, addiction to pornography, honesty, integrity, and unwholesome entertainment choices among Christians are just as prevalent within the church as outside it, 

Even with the wealth of specialty Bibles, Bible studies, conferences, and retreats, most Christians are an inch deep and a mile wide. We have just enough of Jesus to keep us out of hell, but not enough of Him to be true disciples. This type of Christianity is totally foreign to what Jesus expects from us. In Luke 9:23-24 He said: “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me will save it”.  Quite a different attitude from what we see today.

What, then, does it mean to follow Jesus, I mean really follow Him? It is more than just showing up at church once in a while, owning a Bible, or dropping a few bucks in the offering plate.  It is more than talking “Christianese”, praying before meals, and helping out at the church potlucks.  It is much more than any of these. Much more.

Following Jesus is an all out surrender to Him.  His will for our lives becomes our desire, and we follow Him, whatever the cost may be. Following Jesus necessitates dying to “self'” so that He can live through us. It is having a passion for Him, and desiring a deep intimacy with Him. Simply put, a follower of Jesus lives solely for His pleasure and His glory. I’m not talking “perfection”, as none of us will ever come close to that. I’m talking a life long journey that we choose to be on because we love Him so much.

Jesus said it best in Luke 14:33: ” In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be My disciples” (read my 12-29-09 post about this verse). Wow, we might be saying, this sounds pretty drastic.  What did Jesus mean in this verse?  Simple – He wants our hearts. Not the organ that is pumping in your chest as you read this blog. Your heart is the seat of who you are – the emotions, intellect, personality, talents, and uniqueness that makes you “you”. When He has your heart, you discover what intimacy with him really is – the most glorifying relationship a human being can ever have. When He has your heart you find fulfillment, meaning, peace and joy in your walk on this planet, regardless of the circumstances you may find yourself in. When we die to self and surrender our hearts to Him, we find the true meaning of why we were created.

What does following Jesus look like in everyday life? Does it mean that we quit our jobs, sell all our possessions and move ten thousand miles away to a foreign mission field? Maybe, but probably not. Following Jesus is an act of our will that transfers the ownership of ourselves and our possessions to Him. He calls the shots in every facet our our lives. It is holding everything we have – jobs, money, possessions, and ourselves, with open hand, letting Him do what He desires with our lives. Whether He has us stay in our present situation or leads us to make drastic changes, our response is “yes Lord, Your will be done”. A follower of Jesus is radically abandoned to him, and finds that, as He said, when we lose our lives for His sake (i.e.: surrender to Him), we actually find it.

Sadly, this has been all but neglected in the most churches today, and the church has suffered because of it. No longer are we a powerful force in the world that God uses to impact our culture for the truth. Oh, how we need sold out followers of Jesus today!! Will you be on the journey of absolute surrender to Jesus and follow Him with all your heart? Will you be a living, breathing testimony of what a real follower of Jesus looks like? The world is waiting to see one.