Hello, thanks for stopping by on my blog. 😊 I appreciate your time, and I guarantee you will be blessed as we explore today’s subject together.
Have you ever been asked to come along to a place you have not been before? Who asked you? Did they ask nicely or command you to come along? Did you have any idea where you were headed? Did you know how long you were going to be there? Did you hesitate or were you excited? Did the hesitation or excitement have little or everything to do with who was asking? These questions might help you step into the shoes of some of the people Jesus interacted with while He walked the earth, and the experience they had when He first said to them those iconic words: “Follow Me”.
Those words still apply today to everyone who trusts in Jesus as Saviour and is called by His name. In fact, the call to follow Jesus preceded the work of salvation Jesus completed through His death and resurrection, and those who followed Him at first did not fully know where they were headed. Some like Simon and Andrew had the promise of being made into fishers of men (whatever that meant). Others, like Philip and Matthew just had a blanket command to follow. Yet for someone like the rich young ruler, the command came with tough pre-conditions: sell all you have and give to the poor.
There are three words that sum up for me, the call to follow Jesus. And I will now examine them in turn, briefly. The first is Self-Denial. To deny one’s self is not just to deny a desire, but to completely reject one’s mindset or lifestyle prior to coming to Jesus. It is a call to turn away from what makes me who I am, in the hope that I will become like He who called me to follow him. It is a call to learn from Him, a call to the unknown, a call to lose your life so you can gain it back ultimately. The hope of those who heed the call is that their ultimate fulfillment is in becoming like Jesus.
The next word that captures the heart of following Jesus is Sacrifice. Everything we do in life is at the expense of something else we could have spent our time or exerted our strength doing. The call to follow Jesus always places us at the crossroads of making choices – what to think, what to say or do, where to go, who to befriend, how to live or how to spend. If we will be true followers, we will often have to give up our preferences to please the One who calls us. All spiritual progress comes on the strength of sacrifice, and nothing of worth can be offered to God without a sacrificial attitude.
The final word I will mention here is Submission. To follow Jesus means to abandon your own agenda and follow His. It closely follows the principle of self-denial. In a world where people are being taught to be their own person, this is an uncommon opinion. But the truth that the gospel presents is that a disciple does not live for himself; he lives for his Master. We cannot claim to follow Jesus but insist on living a life that is unlike His – people must be able to connect our lifestyle with that of Christ in many ways, if not in every way. This is what it truly means to be a Christian.
At its heart, “Follow Me” is a call to discipleship, one which does not appeal to our natural desires, which calls for denial and sacrifice, and which places at its center a focus on the Master we choose to follow – Jesus Christ the Lord. If anyone will follow, let them follow on to truly know and become like the Lord.
Thanks for reading, and I hope you learnt a thing or two. Please subscribe to this blog so you can get notified whenever there is a new post. Bye!
References: Simon and Andrew (Matthew 4:19, Mark 1:17), Philip (John 1:43), Matthew/Levi (Matthew 9:9, Mark 2:14, Luke 5:27), Unnamed Disciple (Matt. 8:22, Luke 9:59), Simon Peter (John 21:19, 22), Rich Young Ruler (Matt. 19:21, Mark 10:21, Luke 18:22)
Self-denial, Sacrifice and Submission – Matthew 16:24, Luke 9:23, Mark 8:34