Life has been CRAZY this week. Between hours of homework every night and some major changes in our church and having a cold that never seems to go away, I have been exhausted every night when my head hits the pillow. Today is Sabbath though, thank goodness, so now I can rest and be refreshed for the week ahead. When life gets busy like this, sometimes, we forget our calling and our purpose that God gave us: We are here to follow Jesus.
I’ve been reading a book called Follow Me by David Platt, and even though I’m not even halfway through, I would recommend it to everyone in a heartbeat! So, I’m going to use some quotes from that today. I’m probably going to do a few blog posts about this book because it is loaded with the truth of the gospel.
In the first chapter, David relays the story of Jesus calling out the fishermen to follow him. Jesus beckoned these men to abandon everything– their professions, possessions, dreams, ambitions, family, friends, safety, and security. Jesus would say repeatedly, “If anyone is going to follow me, he must deny himself.” Sometimes I think that we don’t even fully grasp what that means because our world is so engrossed in the idea of serving ourselves. Our culture has taught us to promote ourselves and comfort ourselves whatever the cost, but Jesus said, “Slay yourself.” This is why, we as Christians, are called to live counter-cultural lives from the rest of the world. It doesn’t sound all that pretty, but I agree with the fishermen that it is worth the cost.
“In Jesus, these men found someone worth losing everything for. In Christ, they encountered a love that surpassed comprehension, a satisfaction that superseded circumstances, and a purpose that transcended every other possible pursuit in this world. They eagerly, willingly, and gladly lost their lives in order to know, follow, and proclaim him. In the footsteps of Jesus, these first disciples discovered a path worth giving their lives to tread.”
Do you find in Jesus what the disciples did? Read that quote again, slowly, maybe out loud.
Do you feel a deep satisfaction even in times of want or in grief? Do you feel that serving God is truly your number one purpose on this earth? And most importantly, do you feel that Jesus is worth following and completely losing your life for?
I’ll admit that I don’t always feel satisfied. I get distracted from my purpose of serving God when I serve worldly purposes instead. But I am trying wholeheartedly to follow Jesus with everything I have and am more than willing to give up my life for his purposes.
Platt continues by saying, “Scores of people have been told that becoming a follower of Jesus simply involves acknowledging certain facts or saying certain words. But this is not true. Disciples like Peter, Andrew, James, and John show us that the call to follow Jesus is not simply an invitation to pray a prayer; it’s a summons to lose our lives.”
As our Pastor said this morning in his sermon, “it’s all about practice, man.” We are called to do so much more than believe in Jesus. We are called to a life of service to him, not because it’s on a checklist of things to do to get to heaven, but because we genuinely want to serve the one who gave us everything and breathed life into us.
“We have deceptively minimized the magnitude of what it means to follow him…We’ve taken the lifeblood out of Christianity and put Kool-Aid in its place so that it tastes better to the crowds, and the consequences are catastrophic. Multitudes of men and women at this moment think that they are saved from their sins when they are not.”
That’s scary to think about. I personally know so many people who have prayed a “prayer of salvation” and continued their normal, sinful lives, only thinking about Jesus when they need a prayer answered. But they fully believe that they are going to heaven, even though they do not know Jesus at all. They have never actually followed him and do not have a relationship with the Father. Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21) Platt writes, “People who claim to be Christians while their lives look no different from the rest of the world are clearly not Christians.” This is because Jesus changes us. When he truly takes hold of our hearts, our lives are different. Our thoughts, actions, beliefs, and morals are different. Our lives take on a new meaning and we have a new purpose–not to satisfy ourselves, but to serve our Father.
Friends, there is indescribable joy to be found, deep satisfaction to be felt, and an eternal purpose to be fulfilled in dying to ourselves and living for him. Let’s go follow Jesus. Will you pray with me?
Father, thank you for sending Jesus so that we may choose eternal life with you. Please help us to surrender our everything to you and follow you wholeheartedly. Help those around us to grasp how deep and wide your love for them is, and help them to realize what it means to be a Christian. Fill us with your Spirit, and renew our souls so that we may live for a greater purpose than the rest of the world and seek to serve you above everything. In Jesus name, Amen.
We sang this song in church, and it’s one of my favorite Chris Tomlin songs because it so simply captures what it means to follow Jesus. Have a blessed week!