<<go/come after, disciple>>
The call of Jesus to all people is, “Come, follow me” (Mt 4:19). If we accept the invitation, this calls for a radical change in our lifestyle and priorities as He leads us in the ways of righteousness and His ‘ministry call’ on our life. His path for us will be contrary to our own desires – this challenges our commitment. Walking with the Lord requires diligence and obedience on our part, yet considering what Jesus did for us on the cross, we should intentionally and with devotion follow Him closely, not at a distance where we are more susceptible to be negatively influenced by the world and destroyed by Satan (Lk 22:54; 1 Pet 5:8). He leads to life eternal; any other alternative ends in eternal death (Jn 10:10, 14:6; Act 4:12; Rev 20:15).
Following Jesus is not always easy or pleasant, often involving great cost, hardship and without security in this life, however the rewards of walking with Him will be evident in the next life (Mk 10:29,30).
Instead of counting the cost to follow Christ, count the cost of not following
ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him (Lk 9:23). He has set before us the choice – life or death (Deut 30:19). Is my stance, “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord” (Josh 24:15)? Paul said, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ…Take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you” (1 Cor 4:16, 11:1; Phil 3:17).
Jesus leads like a shepherd; the sheep follow for they know His voice and they will never walk in darkness (Jn 10:3-5,12). Following requires faith – we walk by faith, not sight (2 Cor 5:7). Remain loyal to Christ regardless of peer pressure and don’t compromise your devotion to Him who has done more for us eternally than anyone else can ever do. Don’t yield to evil desires but go after what produces righteousness, faith, love and peace together with mutual support for others (2 Tim 2:22).
We are to follow Christ’s example of how to respond to those who mistreat us (1 Pet 2:21-23). The pressures of life, other gods and activities besides the love of money will caused many to grow cold – God is not pleased with those who shrink back (Mt 24:10,12; Heb 10:38,39). Many followed Him because of the miracles they saw and experienced, especially the healings yet when Jesus challenged them with the cost of discipleship many left (Jn 6:2,66). Why do I follow Christ? Is it just to receive from Him, or is it because He calls me to follow and have input back into His Kingdom because of what He has done for me? Backsliding and apostasy are both terms for those who turn away, following at a distance.
We choose how closely we follow the Master
living as we consider Jesus would (Gal 5:22-24; Eph 4:29; Phil 1:27; Col 3:5; 1 Jn 2:6). Therefore, it is essential to be in meaningful relationship with other godly believers, as after all we claim to be following the same Master. Fellowshipping with other believers will provide correction, support and encouragement to continue to live for Christ, “Stirring up to love and good works” (Heb 10:24).
Subconsciously we are influenced by the values of others, especially leaders. Spend quality time with people of desirable character qualities and godly values, so it is obvious we also have been with Jesus – living the kind of life He would live, acting as He would and speaking as He would (Act 4:13).