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. He is looking for 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 the building of the Kingdom of God and not for personal gain.
Before you can become 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. A life that is truly devoted to His goodness and upright in His eyes.
To love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your mind, all your strength, and all your soul and love 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 are still entertaining sinful thoughts and motivations within your heart and mind? Disobeying the essential principles that He commands you to obey. The answer to all of these questions is, that you can not.
You must have repentance. This means to be actively turning 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, and it 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 to not start the work without Him, without the assistance of His Spirit. You must have His Spirit to change you and guide you. Otherwise, you will veer off His path onto a road leading you in the wrong direction. This is an example of those who follow the religion men cultivated instead of following Jesus Himself with all their hearts. Listening to every instruction and rebuke He gives. Do not depend on your own understanding or the rules, laws, and wisdom of men.
“Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” Luke 24:46-49
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
Do you understand this? Though you may have already heard it, seek the Lord with all your heart. Seek to be filled with His Spirit so that you may walk on the straight and narrow path that leads to life. That you may do as He commands and fulfills His purpose and plan for your life. It will not be easy and you will not do it perfectly. But He will pick you up when you fall. He will keep you going when it seems that you can not go any further. He will give you strength when you are weak and be with you every step of the way.
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20
I know that those who have been changed by His Spirit will hear His voice and follow His lead. When the Lord gives you a command or direction, you will follow His call. Have faith in Him. Keep your heart pure and holy. Be completely assured that He will provide what is needed for your journey, and He will 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. You will say, “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.”
To the world, you will look crazy and foolish. To recklessly abandon the worldly ways and goals of this natural life. To follow a God they can’t see or touch. To be persecuted, tested, and tried through painful and difficult affliction. All for a reward they can not hold onto or spend in this lifetime. But we know it is true. We believe we know He is pleased with us and we know our reward will be great in glory. So we press on to the upward call of Jesus Christ.
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.
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 14:25-30 Jesus said, “Follow me.”