Ever heard of Simon Says? It is a simple children’s game of follow the leader, and the only way you can lose is if you don’t follow the directions. As we grow older, we continue to follow what’s most important to use, whether that be something or someone. We could work to follow Jesus, or we could follow our occupations, a relationship, or even family members. Right after Jesus rebukes Peter for his human-centered thinking, He says to His disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). The key question for us to consider is what does it mean to follow Him?
What does it mean to follow Jesus?
- We do what He does and go where He goes.
It means that we follow His lead, not the other way around. To follow Jesus means we are willing to give up our plans and our desires to imitate Him. As we put His desire and will first, the Bible tells us that “everything else will be added” to our lives. The Lord knows how to take care of us as we follow Him.
- We need to count the cost.
“For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:28 ,33). Jesus was very clear about the cost of following Him and while He called the disciples to follow Him, He also told them to stop and count the cost.
- He has become everything to us.
There is no such thing as a “halfway disciple.” Jesus calls us to live what Galatians 2:20 states, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me…”
- The Holy Spirit is the secret to faithfully follow Jesus.
Jesus told us that it would be better for Him to go and be with the Father. Why? He knew the Spirit was going to come and live inside every believer. The epitome of redemption is not just Christ FOR you, but Christ IN you. The disciples had walked with Jesus for three years, learning, observing, and participating in His miracles. Yet, even they could not follow Him faithfully in their own strength. They needed a Helper.
Following Jesus is worth every sacrifice on this side of eternity! Jesus invites us to get caught up in the world as He sees it, through the lens of eternity, and promises a hundred fold return on our investment. The bulk of our reward will come in the future, but we also receive blessings now.
Where do we start?
Live in the Spirit and consider the concrete commands that Jesus has given to every one of His followers:
- “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you” (Luke 6:27).
- “Make disciples of all nations…teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20).
- “Feed the hungry, who hospitality to strangers, care for the sick, visit those in prison” (Matthew 25:35-36).
- “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth…but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven…You cannot serve God and money” (Matthew 6:19-24).
- “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39)