Dec 20, 2019
Good Morning Fellow Travelers,
Read: Acts 9:1-22
“And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Mat 4:19)
When I was a young boy, we used to play a game called, “Follow the Leader”. One of us playmates would lead the way trying to lose the others by going difficult places. Climbing trees. Jumping mud puddles. Crawling through brush. Anywhere and everywhere. It was an enjoyable game.
Jesus has called us to follow Him too. He called Abraham and he followed. He called Peter and he followed. Jesus is still calling men and women and they are following Him.
However, this is not a game. Life is real and there are consequences for every decision that we make. The decision to follow Jesus or not to follow Jesus has consequences that will affect us now and in eternity.
Of course, when Jesus calls us we have a choice to make just like the rich young ruler who came to Jesus. Here is the discourse…
And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother. And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up. Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich.
We are not forced to follow Jesus. Rather, He loves us and calls us to follow Him voluntarily. He offers us Salvation. He wants to give us peace and joy.
Following Jesus involves a few aspects that we would like to develop. The call, the decision, the unburdening, self-denial and cross bearing, and the narrow way.
When Abraham heard the call of God it says he packed up and headed out with all his household, livestock, and stuff, not even knowing at that point where he was headed. He just knew he had heard the call of God was going to obey. He made the decision to follow.
As Jesus observed the ruler who asked Him what he needed to do to inherit eternal life, the scripture says that Jesus look at him, and loved him. Jesus knew that an important part of following for this potential disciple was the unburdening of that which had grown into his heart. The ruler was held by a besetting sin and Jesus gently but firmly pointed it out. He would need to unburden himself of this weight before he could follow.
Self-denial and cross bearing have always been a part of following Jesus. This analogy shows us that a deeper unburdening is needed to effectively follow. There will be times when you want your way and your desires cause you to follow your inclinations instead of trusting in Jesus. When you take up your cross, it means that you not only deny but also crucify your desires and inclinations to the point that you can follow Jesus perfectly.
Now since you have heard the call and have decided to follow Jesus, you unburden yourself of all that would hinder you from following. You consciously deny yourself and crucify your fleshly desires so you will not be distracted from following Jesus on the narrow way.
Will following Jesus be easy? No, it will not, but it will be worth it all when we receive the reward.
~ Harold Troyer ~