Would you be a Follower of Jesus?
Matthew 16:24. “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”
This is for born again ones, for they have received the Holy Spirit, and His grace.
If any man will come after Me. What does it mean to come after Jesus?
First, it means that you get up from where you are in your life and leave it. To come after means leaving; But not in the physical sense.
It is a “leaving” of the past attitudes, past sins, and past pursuits to come after Him.
2 Corinthians 6:17 “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing, and I will receive you, “
Second, it means you follow Christ, by being obedient to His commands on your life.
John 14:23 “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.”
Third, it means to suffer for, and because of Christ. Every follower of Christ will, sooner or later, come to the place where they must choose the world or Christ, and if you choose Christ; the world will make you “suffer” in some respect.
Fourth, it means to stand with those for whom Christ died: other Christians.
John 13:35 “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”
Matthew 16:24 “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”
You deny yourself and take up your cross and follow Him. You need to “bear” your cross, to the place in your experience that you no longer resist His will in anything.
Your cross is anything God has required, which cuts across your will. There you need to say “no” to your will; and do God’s Will for your life. This is to bear your cross.
This is a very personal thing, between you and your Lord; for He says, “if any man will”. It is not any Church, any group, any family, even; but any man.
The personal aspect is important. The necessity of it dates back to our beginnings:
We were not consulted in our creation: Where we were born, in what family, or when we were born, and the person we were born as.
We just were,…..and that was that.
As Christians, we are to come to the place in our experience that we don’t just acknowledge God’s Creative Right, but we submit to it.
We will be the creature before the Creator.
Letting His choice for us, be our best.
For some of us, we must acknowledge, we have been having a fit with God about ourselves, in some realm, since we knew God.
Maybe it was our family: Why put me with these people?
Maybe it was our abilities: Couldn’t you at least make me great in something?
Maybe it was our looks: My nose is too big; my eyes not blue enough; You could have made me prettier than “them”.
Whatever it is; we are not satisfied with our circumstances, or (often) ourselves.
So, here is a good place to follow Jesus:
Matthew 11:25-26 “At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.
Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight.”
Jesus came to do the Father’s Will, and never tried to do otherwise; even to His shame and death.
Jesus said He came to give life, and to give it more abundantly. (John 10:10)
If you are a Christian, He offers this abundant life within the life He gave you in your beginning;……and in what He gives you now as His servant.
In this abundant life there is joy of spirit, peace of heart, courage in peril, love of others, and a personal relationship with the One Who loved and saved you. (More personal than any other relationship you will ever have: for He knows everything about you,…..and loves you.)
Would you be a follower of Jesus?
Then come after Him, by denying yourself, picking up your cross and following Jesus into your abundant life.
Not without troubles,……but always with His presence and power by the Holy Spirit to help.