A recent sermon from Luke chapter nine reminded me about the privilege and responsibility of following Jesus Christ. Eternal life begins with salvation, but we don’t wait until Heaven to start living for the Lord.
If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.Luke 9:23 KJV
Jesus says we can “go after” him. But it’s not as simple as some people want to make it. If we take his words in the verse above at face value, there seems to be two prerequisites to following him.
First things First
First off, Jesus was speaking to believers in this verse.
That means, if you don’t know Jesus as Lord and Savior, you can’t follow him. Simple as that. Only those who “know” him can be his disciple.
It’s as simple as A-B-C to take care of this shortfall.
A – Admit you’re a sinner
B – Believe Jesus died for your sins
C- Call on him to save you (which means pray)
The second thing to note about following Jesus, we have to want to follow. “If any man will come” Jesus said. There’s no one prodding you with a sharp stick to be a Jesus freak.
But if you want to follow him, there’s no question He wants you to join him.
There’s a big IF at the start of this verse because Jesus knows it will be easier for us not to follow him. Especially when we learn that:
- We have to deny ourselves. That’s right, following Jesus means no more “me first” mentality.
- Hard things will happen. There is no easy path in the Lord’s kingdom. We will have burdens to bear, and just as Jesus bore the stripes and the crown of thorns, we’ll need to buckle down and shoulder our cross, too.
Now that I’ve convinced you that following Jesus will be neither fun or easy, let’s talk about some other hard facts.
Jesus paid the ultimate price for our salvation by dying for us, but as Luke 9:23 says, there is a cross each of us have to bear, too.
The final five verses of Luke chapter nine relay three things that might be sacrificed in our walk for and with Jesus.
We need to prepare to:
- Give up our comfortable lifestyle
- Relinquish the plans we have for our lives
- Walk away from the worldly things and people who hold us back from serving the Lord
In a society where people are applauded for being independent, it won’t be easy to walk in Jesus’ footsteps. The path he sets is not just the road less traveled, it’s the path “successful” people shun.
What does it mean to follow Jesus?