Hard to Truly Follow

Note from Jesus

Dear Follower,

Follower… what an interesting term to use with you. To truly follow Me means becoming My disciple. A disciple is a person who spends her or his lifetime learning to live like Me. There is no cost too great to pay. Now in your day, you can “follow” someone on Twitter® or Facebook® and not even be a real friend. What you really mean in your world about being a “follower” is that you are just an observer — you can hang around, listen in on conversations, wander in and out of connection with someone, and generally do with that relationship whatever you choose. Not so with “following” Me!

If you are going to follow Me, it’s going to cost you because you have to put Me first in… everything. You have to commit to have My character become your character, to have My compassion become your compassion, and to having My story become your story. The problem with following Me is that you inevitably have to face a cross of some kind. You have to resign from living for yourself and commit to being willing to live and possibly even die for Me and My work.

So I am focusing on My words below on the importance of counting the cost of following Me. It will cost you everything… including yourself! Are you ready to pay that cost? I know that many churches and preachers in your day tell you about all the perks in following Me and being a part of their church. Unfortunately, they are sometimes talking only about superficial perks, not the truly costly and transformational blessings of following me. It’s almost as if they have to tease and entice you into following Me. But don’t buy the deception. It’s hard following Me. I call you to surrender your life to Me and to My movement.

Count the cost. The cost is high. I use extreme language to drive home My point because there is something I cannot tolerate — something that critics of folks claiming to be My followers can’t tolerate — and that is folks who do not live up to what they tell everyone else they must do. Don’t be like salt that loses its taste and is worthless. You are called to make a difference in your world as My follower. So count the cost… but never forget, because I paid the high cost of the cross, I made sure through the resurrection that any cost you pay is well worth your investment!

Verses to Live

I always had a tug-of-war going on in My heart over the crowds. They were fickle. Most in the crowd didn’t believe; they wanted to see My miracles and be along for the spectacle, but they didn’t want to pay the price to follow Me. So I often used strong words to back them off or send them home… unless they saw that I had come from God and they truly wanted to follow Me. What are you going to do with these hard words?Great crowds joined Him [Jesus] on His journey, and He turned to them.

Jesus:If any of you come to Me without hating your own father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters, and yes, even your own life, you can’t be My disciple. If you don’t carry your own cross as if to your own execution as you follow Me, you can’t be part of My movement. Just imagine that you want to build a tower. Wouldn’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to be sure you have enough to finish what you start? If you lay the foundation but then can’t afford to finish the tower, everyone will mock you: “Look at that guy who started something that he couldn’t finish!”

Or imagine a king gearing up to go to war. Wouldn’t he begin by sitting down with his advisors to determine whether his 10,000 troops could defeat the opponent’s 20,000 troops? If not, he’ll send a peace delegation quickly and negotiate a peace treaty. In the same way, if you want to be My disciple, it will cost you everything. Don’t underestimate that cost!

Don’t be like salt that has lost its taste. How can its saltiness be restored? Flavorless salt is absolutely worthless. You can’t even use it as fertilizer, so it’s worth less than manure! Don’t just listen to My words here. Get the deeper meaning.(Luke 14:25-35)

Response in Prayer

O Father, I know following Jesus will be filled with hard challenges, not just the challenges of normal life, but also the challenges that Jesus’ enemies and Satan’s allies will throw in my path. Even so, dear Father, I truly want to follow Jesus… to become like Him in how He lived with character and compassion. So I ask for the strengthening of the Holy Spirit to give me added courage and endurance as the Spirit works at conforming me to Jesus, my Teacher, Savior, and Lord, in Whose name I pray. Amen.

‘A Year with Jesus’ is written by Phil Ware.

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All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved.