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What Does It Really Mean To Follow Jesus?

Jenifer Jernigan @ By His Grace and In His Word Ministries asked an important question in her latest post.

What does it REALLY mean to follow Jesus?

"Then He said to them all: 'If anyone would come after me, He must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.' " Luke 9:23 NIV

Too read her post:

I dreamed about this question last night, it's nagging me, following me wherever I go, waiting for me to answer.

In the Common English Bible Luke 9:23 reads:

"All who want to come after me must say no to themselves, take up their cross daily, and follow me."

In my NIV study Bible the notes state that, "To follow Jesus means that we must have self-denial, complete dedication and have willing obedience."
Mounce's Dictionary states that, "Following is not only a description of movement, but it is a metaphor of salvation. To follow Christ means to learn from Him, and to respond to His voice."

I believe that the first word that comes to my mind when following Jesus is patience.
Patience is that word that when we become an adult we would rather not have to comply with. So many things that used to take forever with like waiting for the oven to heat so left overs can warm up--we can now use a microwave. We know longer need to even call someone on the land line telephone and wait for the dial tone and the connection, only to have to leave a message because the party you are trying to reach is not at home. Now, we can text someone and receive back an instant reply.
Patience in following Jesus means exactly that, waiting for His answer and leadership, no matter how long it takes. It means I do not put words in to His mouth about what I believe is His answer,  nor do I take the lead because I feel a certain "thing" needs to be done now.
Patience means wait. My grandmother used to say, "Just put your feet up and rest a spell."

The second word that comes to my mind when following Jesus is denying myself.
I am a thinker and a planner. I have a plan A, B, C, and maybe even a D. I want to know, calculate and plan my day, week, month, and year. I want to read it, research it, and then contemplate it.
Jesus said get rid of that thinking, just cool it with the projected thinking, don't worry about tomorrow, just follow me.

The third word that comes to my mind when following Jesus is fear.
There is fear in the unknown. I know all about the unknown. The unknown is denser and scarier than
Inner Space Caverns when they turn out the light for a moment during your tour.
Fear of the unknown is when the doctors tell you that you have cancer, but they "don't think it will kill you, it is just a stage 0; but, we won't know for certain until after the surgery."
Fear is when your son is on patrol in a combat zone with the enemy that places bombs in the road for tanks to drive over, and they also wait for the tankers to "show" themselves outside their tanks and then they shoot them.
Fear can take over your entire thinking, keep you up at night, prevent you from eating---or even in eating too much. Fear is overwhelming and miserable.
In Psalm 27:1 David wrote,

"The LORD is my light and my salvation-whom shall I fear?"

I believe we fear because we have made that fear bigger than Jesus. We have emphasized that fear and de-emphasized Jesus.

The fourth and final word that I think of when following Jesus is response.
What is my own personal response in, What does it REALLY mean to follow Jesus?"
Forgive me Father for I have sinned against you, you only. I have placed my own impatience, agenda and fear ahead of you. I have made them my god, and I have not responded in obedience to you.
Cleanse me, lift me up and strengthen me for all of the tomorrows (however many that they will be) that you have ordained for me. 

Blissful Blogging!


Jenifer said…
Wow Annette!!! Amen, amen, and amen. You made some really great points- all of which relate to following Jesus.

Following Jesus is not an easy thing. It's something that requires major sacrifice. It is self denial. It is being patient and not getting ahead of God. It can be fearful at times. And, it is a response that cannot be forced.

I pray that we all continue to pursue God with a passion that desires nothing other than our Savior.

Blessings to you!!