Do You Really Want To Follow Jesus?

I am going to persuade you from following Jesus.

Do you really want to follow Jesus?

Not really… right?

Right?

Don’t you want to live your life your way, to only worry about your own concerns, to mind your own business?

You’re not your brother’s keeper after all. Anyway, you know what’s best for you.

Don’t you think it’s time to put the gospel, the guy in the bathrobe with the donkey, and the happy little fairytale that there is a God who created the universe and loves your personally away for good. What have any of those myths done for you?

Isn’t it horrific to praise a man dying on a tree?

Isn’t it awful to command people to love one another, to treat others how you want to be treated, to wake up early one day a week and go to a drafty old building and sing songs and read from a primitive book, listen to what some self-appointed guru thinks you should do?

Shouldn’t we stay in bed, take advantage of others, chose to read what you want or not to read anything, and make our own decisions listening to our feelings and thoughts only.

Maybe the question I should be asking is: Do I really want to follow Jesus.

All too often I don’t. There it’s out.

I go to church every Sunday, attend a bi-weekly bible study, write a monthly article in the church’s newsletter, post my blogs regularly, say the right things and want to do the right things, I think of myself as spiritual. I claim Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I’ve written about and talked about it. I soak up in all the good praises I get for my writing and like to hear how good a person I am, how humble and kind I am, how smart and sensitive I am.

Where is Jesus?

I would like to do away with Jesus and say I did this and that. It’s all about me. I am so spiritual, humble, kind, smart, and talented. Look at me! I am so damn special. I am so damn spiritual. It’s me. It’s Robby.  

Where is Jesus?

Should I not surrender my life to Jesus?

Do I really want to follow Jesus?

Do I… well, do I?

I get on people who claim Jesus as author of their agenda and ideology, on those who claim Jesus but don’t live by his teachings, who refashion Jesus in their image. Yet, I let myself slide and enjoy the grace and love of God without any sacrifice or discipleship. I would much rather have cheap grace than costly grace. I say all the right things, but how much of it do I believe or want to believe. If my personal life doesn’t match up to my claimed beliefs than how can I say I believe what I say I do.

If I say, I follow Jesus, but don’t love everyone, even those I have a trouble loving than how am I following Jesus.

If I say, I follow Jesus, but don’t have joy, peace, and faithfulness how am I following Jesus.

If I say, I follow Jesus, but don’t have gentleness, patience, and self-control how am I following Jesus.

Mark 8: Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.

I need to submit my entire person and life to Jesus if I am to follow him. There is no half way. It’s all the way or nothing. To follow Jesus will cost me my entire life. I will leave the old ways of doing life and be rise into new life through the Jesus way. My wants and desires will need to be terminated by the teachings of Jesus. To love everyone, serve my fellow man, do the will of God, and humble myself making myself an obedient example of what a Jesus follower really is. I will not use force on others to get my way. I will make myself least and last.

These are not easy or comfortable things to do. I cannot do it on my own. I will stumble, sometimes falling flat on my face. I need Jesus. I need to not just say that Jesus is Lord and Savior, but live my life by this truth. I also need community. I have faith in Jesus and I know that by committing to him fully that He will walk with me and show me the ways I should live. I am part of a community that has and will continue to guide and push me in healthy and loving ways to live my life to the fullest.  The past year has been challenging and rewarding and I see 2012 to be more of the same. I do hope that this year I will grow and deepen even more, becoming more of the person I ought to be.

As Michael Spencer said, “Jesus-shaped spirituality hears Jesus say “believe and repent,” but the call that resonates most closely in the heart of a disciple is “follow me.” The command to follow requires that we take a daily journey in the company of other students. It demands that we be lifelong learners and that we commit to constant growth in spiritual maturity. Discipleship is a call to me, but it is a journey of we… the powerful changes that happen in the life of a disciple never come from the disciple working hard at doing anything. They come from arriving at a place where Jesus is everything, and we are simply overwhelmed with the gift. Sometimes it seems as if God loves us too much. His love goes far beyond our ability to stop being moral, religious, obedient, and victorious, and we just collapse in his arms. Out of the gospel that Jesus is the only Mediator between God and humanity comes a Christian life that looks like Jesus, a life Jesus would recognize. It’s a life that looks like Jesus, because Jesus does everything, and all we do is accept his gift. And to accept his gift, we have to give up trying to be Jesus.”

My prayer for myself and those who really want to follow Jesus is found in the words of A.W. Tozer from The Pursuit of God. “Please root from my heart all those things which I have cherished so long and which have become a very part of my living self, so that Thou mayest enter and dwell there without a rival.”

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1 Comment

  1. This is a very moving essay. Thank you.

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