To follow Jesus is to be different from the world. Consider the cost of following the Lord Jesus carefully. He is not seeking the fence rider. He is not looking for the lazy, procrastinating, indecisive, seasonal visitor to be His disciple. Instead, He seeks a loyal, devoted, trustworthy, hardworking, bold, and courageous servant. The risk-taker who is willing to lay down their entire life for the call they have received from Jesus Christ. All for building the Kingdom of God and not for personal gain.
Before becoming that kind of servant, you must repent of your sinful ways and obey His commands. To follow His lead, His example of righteous living. Not just saying it but acting out what He requires of His servants. As James said, “be a doer of the Word and not a hearer only.”
To love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, strength, and soul, loving your neighbor as yourself, is more than a philosophy. It is a way of life that extends from possessing godliness within your heart to following through by treating others as you would want them to treat you, keeping your mind, body, and soul pure from sin to serve as Jesus did, in righteousness.
Let me ask you some questions. How can you obey the Lord if you don’t obey His commandments? How can you show compassion for people if you do not love them as you love yourself first? How can you love, honor, and please God if you still entertain sinful thoughts and motivations within your heart and mind? The answer to all of these questions is that you can not.
You must have repentance, meaning to actively turn away from the evil you used to dwell on and perform daily. Turning to God and adhering to the good He wants you to do instead of evil. It is a complete change of mind, heart, and actions. It is a complete transformation that comes from God. Instead of desiring what is wrong, you will desire righteousness, which only comes through the powerful transformation of the Holy Spirit. Jesus makes this point very clear when He spoke with Nicodemus. It doesn’t come naturally but supernaturally.
Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” John 3:5-8
Jesus warns you not to start the work without Him, without the assistance of His Spirit. You must have His Spirit to guide your steps and heart. Otherwise, you will veer off His path onto a road leading you in the wrong direction. For example, religious men will cultivate their own ways instead of following Jesus Himself with all their hearts. Listening to every instruction and rebuke God gives. Do not depend on your understanding of the rules, laws, and wisdom of men.
Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:62
Seek the Lord with all your heart. Seek to be filled with His Spirit so that you may walk on the straight, narrow path that leads to life. So that you may do as He commands and fulfill His purpose and plan for your life. It will be challenging, and you will not do it perfectly. But He will pick you up when you fall. He will keep you going when it seems you can not go any further. He will give you strength when you are weak and be with you every step of the way.
Jesus said, “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19
Keep your heart pure and holy. Be assured that God will provide what you need for your journey and bring you to the place He promised, even when it doesn’t look that way. He does not lie, and all things are possible for those who have faith in the God who created all things with a Word. So be the one who says, “Here am I send me, I am available, I will go and do whatever you command.” “And though He slays me or takes every material item away, I will still have faith and trust in my Lord Jesus.”
It will cost you everything in this world to follow Him. But the rewards you are laying up in Heaven and the glory that will come with it are out of this world. It will be worth every sacrifice, hardship, and sorrow when we meet Jesus.
Now great crowds accompanied Him, and Jesus turned and said to them, “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.” Luke 14:25-27 Jesus said, “Follow me.”