Following Jesus Is Not Easy But Worth It

There is a trend in modern Christianity to want to make disciples, and this is well and good. It is a noble intent to do so. The Bible says we are supposed to make disciples. What we often do in our zeal to make these disciples is to paint following Jesus as a grand adventure filled with fun and purpose. 

Don't get me wrong.

Following Jesus will likely be the grandest adventure you can ever go on. In doing so, you will find your purpose. It, however is not a laugh a minute, nor is it a cakewalk. You won't have crowds cheering you at every turn and more often than not, you will find yourself alone.

The Bible paints a hard road of discipleship. Remember Daniel's three friends? They were thrown into a fiery furnace. 

Remember the Apostle Paul? He most likely was decapitated by the Romans. 

Peter was crucified, according to legend, upside down, John was exiled, and the other disciples met their end in brutal cruelty. 

The early Christians were persecuted, dragged to prison, and many were executed. Throughout history there have been Christian martyrs. Martin Luther narrowly escaped being one. 

I don't wish to dissuade you from following Jesus. Not at all. But so many of our beloved brothers and sisters turn around when difficulty hits, because they're not expecting it. They've been told that following Jesus is where the good stuff is. And it is. In a sense.

Nothing will put you in the cross hairs of the devil faster than following hard after Jesus. It will put a target sign on your back and I warn you of this in love. Because I don't want you to leave off following after Jesus. He is, after all, our life.

There are real spiritual battles going on all around us and ours is a battle for souls. Eternity is at stake. This isn't a game. When you get serious for Christ and become a soul-winner, you can expect difficulty. Severe difficulties. But God is always with you and your eternal rewards will far outweigh the problems of this life.

But you have to ask yourself if you really want it. Because if you don't, you won't withstand the trouble to come. You will turn back at some point. I'm not saying you won't be saved, but I am saying that you might quit and leave your work unfinished. You have to examine what you want.

If you want to follow Jesus, you must love Him above all else. That includes family, friends, parents, children, and anyone else you may know. You must love Him more than you love money, power, and prestige. You must love Him more than you love being comfortable. You must love Him above your own current life. You must love Him enough to give up what your life looks like now and allow Him to remake what He wants your life to be. 

You must love Him more than you love the world.

More than you love the trappings of this life.

If that sounds bleak, let me give you the good news. When you follow Jesus you will truly find the life you never knew you wanted. It just won't look like what others have been selling. God loves you so much He lays out what the hindrances to following Him are. It's not that He doesn't want you to have any fun. It's that He knows certain things are a distraction from the best and purest love you ever could know: the love of God.

Because if we have to make everyday a party to get people to follow Jesus, they're not really following Jesus. When the road gets hard, and it will they will be at best confused and at worst befuddled to the point where they no longer will choose to follow.

We need to tell people the truth. Following God has benefits that are not necessarily tangible in the physical world. You will have a closeness to your heavenly Father and will be guided along by His eye. He will walk with you and you will experience His loving presence with you all of the time. Your walk will have meaning and purpose, which ultimately, is to give glory to God. Your life will have eternal rewards which we cannot even fathom here on earth. You will have peace, and you will have joy. You will also live a life filled with spiritual blessings. He often will provide material blessings too. 

We cheapen God when we assume that He is only worth following if He gives us things. But oftentimes He does give us things. This, however, is never a guarantee. We follow Him because He alone is worthy. In the Bible it even says that if we consider something a worthy pursuit over Jesus, that it is we who are not worthy of Him.

That alone should give us pause. So, have courage, do the hard thing and know that Christ is worthy to be counted above all we could ever hope or long for. Know that He, Himself, is the prize we should long after and that everything else He gives us is the icing on the cake. Know that following Jesus will be hard and met with opposition, but that it most certainly is worth it. 

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