Tuesday, October 13, 2009

So What About Us?

For several weeks now we have looked at many aspects of being called to follow Jesus. We have looked at the way Jesus spoke the words "Follow Me" and immediately the disciples followed. We have explored the lives of each of the twelve disciples and what they experienced on their journey with Jesus. We have looked at the transformations that took place in the lives of the disciples. We have even looked at counting the cost to follow and what we gain in return.

Today we must conclude with a question. What about us? Where does that lead us?

I believe it leads each of us to answer our own question. Jesus stands before us today and he is saying "Follow Me." We must answer Him. Will we do as the disciples did and get up immediately to follow Him? Or will our delay answer for us?

Take a moment and imagine Jesus Christ standing before you where ever you are. He is requesting the same thing of you that every true disciple must hear. "Follow Me" He says. How will you respond? Will you lay down all you have and follow?

You can not lead. This is a request to follow. That means you must put EVERYTHING in His hands and do with it what He requests.

What if that means all your material wealth must be forfeited and given to the poor like the rich man? You lack one thing Jesus told the rich man. Sell everything you own and give all the money to the poor. The rich man went away sad. Will you?

What if it means you must give up your career or your hope of a family? What if you must forfeit your dreams of children? What if you have to walk away from everything you know, everyone you know and not know where you are going?

This basically, is what’s expected of us. We are to be willing to give up everything we know and everyone we know if necessary. We do not own anything in this world. It is not ours to hang on to. We have been given the privilege to spend a short while on this earth enjoying the things that belong to God. But we are expected to follow after Jesus not lead.

If we only had a realistic view of what it meant for the disciples to follow Jesus. Close your eyes and try to get a mental picture of what it was like for them. They would walk all day. No money of their own. Family and all comforts of home long left behind. They had no home which they would return to each night. They would travel by day and hope to have someone keep them in their home at night. What if no one asked them to stay, then what? Sleep outside with a rock as your pillow? Was it cold? So cold that their feet and hands got numb with frost bite? Were they dirty for long periods of time? Itching and sore from lack of hygiene? What about hunger? Did they always have enough to eat? Did their stomachs rumble at times or their throats get dry from thirst? Waiting long periods before a place was present to drink?

They had nothing to call their own. On top of that, they didn't even have a clue where they were going each day. Get up every morning look for Jesus and follow after Him. Go to the next place and watch the Savior preach and teach. That was the life the twelve disciples chose.

So often, we enter into salvation with the intention of it improving our lives. We want happiness, good weather, nice people and lots of material wealth. What we fail to understand is that we were not created for our own benefit; we were created for God’s benefit. We were created for His pleasure not the other way around.

It's not about us. It's about Him. It's about following where He leads not taking Him along where we decide to go. It's about His agenda for our lives. It's about doing His will not our own. It's about His glorious message, not ours. We have no message. We have nothing that wasn’t given to us by Him.

So our job? What is our job? Get up in the morning. Look for Jesus. Follow after Him. That's it. That’s our job. Follow where he goes.

The next question is how. How do we do that today? First, we must know Him personally. We must have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. You can not follow someone you do not know.

John 10:27 - "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me."

Jesus is the shepherd and we are His sheep. We are to know Him personally. When we do, we will begin to hear His voice. Then we will follow where His voice directs us.

I know that some may read this and say "how do I hear the voice of God?"

It is not an audible voice but an inner voice that speaks to us. It is the voice of the Holy Spirit that lives within. It could be the small still voice within that sends a thought to your mind. A thought that is so odd that you would have never thought that way. It takes time to discern these thoughts as the voice of the Spirit. So there is no harm in asking for more confirmation through other things like the bible and Godly council.

Besides, prayer, preaching and Godly individuals, Jesus speaks to us through the word in the bible. If we are to discern what the will of God is, we must be grounded in the bible. We must have daily time in Gods word and prayer. We must soak ourselves in the word so that we are filled to the brim with the goodness of it. The word of God is living and if we feed ourselves with it at every opportunity, our Spirit will grow. We will soon have little trouble knowing the way Jesus went.

Now, we want to follow, and we are trying to discern his will, but what if we fail? What if we go the wrong way? What if, next thing you know Jesus is nowhere in sight?

The good shepherd that He is, He will come find us. His sheep do not stray without His notice. When we turn around and begin to seek Him again, He will come to redirect us. There is no condemnation, just merciful correction and redirection. Once we are refocused, He can assume the lead again.

So what do you say to the request Jesus poses today? Will you follow? The cost is high but the return is eternal. Will you lay everything at His feet? Are there things you need to address today? Or will you go away sad?

The choice is yours.

1 comment:

Eric said...

I needed this tonight. Thank you so much. Great thoughts on what it means to be a follower of Christ