The Tough Decision to Follow Jesus

<strong>The Tough Decision to Follow Jesus</strong>

The Scriptures remind us that when we make the decision to follow Jesus, we should “count the cost.”  (Lk 14:27-29)  In other words, Jesus wants us to know what it means to fully follow Him.  This is a serious subject with genuine consequences.

Just as the building of a physical house has a definite cost, so does the decision to follow Jesus have a cost.  We’re told that we must take up a CROSS and deny ourselves, in order to follow Jesus.  Let’s read what the Scriptures have to say:

And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.  (Mt 10:38 KJV, emphasis added)

Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.  (Lk 14:27 NASB)

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.  (Mt 16:24 NRSV)

When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.  (Mk 8:34 NKJV)

First, we must deny ourselves!  What does that mean?  It means that we put Jesus and the Holy Spirit in charge of our lives.  We give up the throne that is our life, and ask Jesus to sit on the throne and to direct us by His Spirit.  We cannot follow Jesus and the world’s way at the same time.  Neither can we serve God and money at the same time.

Following Jesus may mean that we lose relationships, dreams, material things, and even our lives.  Our relationship with Jesus must take priority over everything else in our lives and must be of the supreme importance to us. 

We must, in essence, declare:  “I’d rather have Jesus than anything.”

If a day comes when someone threatens us with death if we do not renounce our faith in Jesus Christ, then we should happily choose Jesus and eternal life above staying here in our earthly body.  Pray for God’s blessings and grace in order to live boldly for Jesus.

May God’s grace strengthen you and empower you.

Brotherly Love

Brotherly Love

Let brotherly love continue.  (Heb 13:1)

Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another . . . (Rom 12:10)

But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another . . . (1 Thes 4:9)

What is “brotherly love”?  It is having a love for all mankind.  This is the kind of love that desires the best for other people; helps others; and prays for good things to happen to other people.

We are called by God to love all mankind because all humanity was created by God in His image, and due to that fact, can be called children of God.    The Lord tells us that if we say that we love Him but we hate our brother, then we must be lying!  (1 Joh 4:20)  Also, it is a commandment of God that we love one another!  (Joh 13:34, see also 1 Joh 3:11)

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.  (1 Joh 4:7)

The Bible says that one characteristic of a true disciple of Jesus Christ is that they demonstrate love for other people.  (Joh 13:35)  The Word goes on to point out that brothers (and sisters) suffer together and share joy together.  (1 Cor 12:26)

Brotherly/sisterly affection and love covers [overlooks, forgives] a multitude of sins.  (1 Pet 4:8) 

Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.  (Rom 13:10)  Brotherly and sisterly love for other people is a fulfillment of the highest law that the Lord has given to us, that we love one another!