Following Jesus is a choice and for the one who loves Him so… will never find it to be a drudgery. Following Jesus isn’t necessarily considered to be “easy,” a piece of cake, a walk in the park. In fact, there are countless individuals around the world who have decided to follow Jesus and are being persecuted at this very moment because of their commitment to Him and obeying His Word. Following Jesus means going where He would go, doing what He would do, saying what He would say. True Christianity takes a denying of oneself, a death to self daily, decreasing so that Jesus Christ will take center stage, wiping our names off the board, so to speak, fading into the background and fully committing ownership of ourselves, our very lives to His Lordship.
Paul the Apostle (whom I consider to be one of my heros) took it further and dubbed himself as “Christ’s bond servant,” or “slave” in our modern terminology, and can I tell you? He was happy being so. “Happy?!” you ask. Yes! He was most content following Jesus and laying down “lesser things” of this world for “greater gains:” his Father’s pleasure, the saving of souls, and a place in heaven.
“What a commitment!” you may say. “Where’s the fun in all of this?! I mean, I’m a Christian and all, but I’ve never heard of Christianity to be so, so rigid. I mean… I read my Bible… I go to church. I have to confess though that sometimes I doubt I’ll ever be truly happy in this whole ‘Following Jesus’ thing. A slave? Now, that’s taking it too far!”
Is it not true that when you love someone so much you’re willing to make sacrifices? What may seem difficult is doable. You’re willing to do all that you can for that person… please them, even if it means going the second or third mile… because it’s a love – relationship.
“Jesus answered and said to him, ‘If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.'”
– John 14:23
The word “keep” in the original text literally means “to attend to carefully; to observe,” or “fully obey.” According to this scripture, the end and continuous result for those who attend to God’s Word carefully and commit to a life of obedience is nothing less than sweet fellowship, a love – relationship with the Godhead: God, our Father, Creator; Christ, our Savior, intercessor, friend; and the Holy Spirit, our greatest comforter and teacher and power to overcome and live a victorious, resurrected Christian life. I don’t know about you, but this sounds awfully exciting to me! There is power and grace made available to us to live a life that is pleasing to our Lord! We can be fully devoted to Jesus not in our own capabilities or ingenuity, but by the power of the Holy Spirit and the result is a closer walk with Him.
“By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.”
2 Peter 1:3,4
Friends, the possibilities are endless, and the joy that you will experience far outweighs any grief or hardship and anything pleasureful you have experienced or can ever experience in this world! I don’t have to try to convince you. You can find out for yourself. Following Jesus by fully putting your trust in Him, accepting what He has done for you on the cross, obeying His Word, and committing yourself to the Holy Spirit daily to empower you truly is LIFE, and life to the fullest! This is what being born again is all about. This is true contentment, no greater joy, real happiness! All the more, it’s not within our nature to obey, to live a holy life. That’s why we must take on the nature of Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. It’s a new birth with a new heart, new desires, a new way of thinking, a divine exchange. I’ll add something more, as Christians we would do ourselves good to stay “plugged – in” to that which will encourage us to live holy lives that please Him: the Word of God.
With this I close. Friend, “Have you truly given your all to Jesus? Have you died to yourself today? Who has your heart? Christian, what are you giving your attention to?” Perhaps, your heart is divided, and with great reason, and you’re finding obedience to be a drudgery. Let this day be the day that you commit yourself to Jesus as not only Savior but Lord. It’s not a one time thing. It’s a daily calling to our First Love.
When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.
Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet,
Or we’ll walk by His side in the way;
What He says we will do, where He sends we will go;
Never fear, only trust and obey.
John H. Sammis