Updated: Jan 19, 2021
Did you know that within the four gospels alone, Jesus extended the invitation to all who would listen to him, to “follow me”. He was not asking anyone to follow a religion. I do believe Christ was asking all who choose to hear Him, to lose their life and to find new life in Him.
He clearly states in Mark 8:34 for us to deny ourselves, to take up His cross and follow Him. This does not mean that Christ is requiring us to stop enjoying certain things in our lives that are good, positive, and encouraging. Or to stop associating with people and attending events that are uplifting, fruitful and supportive along our life’s journey. What Christ is asking is that we surrender our immediate, self and material gratifications, to live a life with and in Him.
That to follow Him, we need to reject the shallow cultural pleasing ways of our own carnality. To say no to selfish pursuits, desires that cause us to sin. That we need to recognize mankind’s “natural sin” that resides within our hearts causing us to behave in ways that are not governed by the ways of Christ. Behaviors and a style of life that will prevent us from spending eternity with Christ. He is asking that we surrender our self-identity and discover “His” identity for us.
To release ourselves from self appointed labels, our self-expectations or the expectations others have placed upon us. To relinquish the need we have to control who we are and allow Him within His Word, by His Holy Spirit to say this is who you are. This is who I have called and created you to be. It is about walking side by side with Jesus, discovering who we are in Him, and establishing our relationship with Him. It is about doing and receiving all that Christ desires. Its about a burning within oneself to be, do and live as Christ asks of us. That is its knowing that we were not intended to operate and function in life without Christ, because that’s not how God created us. It is about being humble and emptying ourselves so that Christ can enter in and guide us. Its about following Jesus, identifying with Him, living life in His name and for the sake of His Word. Its about knowing that Christ, He who is perfect in all ways, took on the form of a servant, the son of man.
That He willingly, obediently suffered abuse and hung on the cross, to die for our sins. He picked up our cross and died in our place, so that we may live. Took upon our shame so that we would never have to feel shame again. Jesus says, come to me, follow me. Deny yourself and I will live with you and in you.
So, when Jesus says, “follow me” He is saying only through Him shall you have life. That the ways of this world are not His ways. That pain, suffering, fear and so on DO NOT come from the heart of God. They come from the darkness, our enemy, His enemy who desires to destroy you-to belittle you-to annihilate you in multiple ways. To keep you captive, confused, uncertain and ignorant. To ensure you do not give your life over to Christ, allowing Him to be your Lord, your light within the darkness of this world. Daily Jesus extends His hand to each of us, saying “follow me”-will you take hold of His hand! Choose life-to live. Choose to walk in the Light of Christ, your heavenly Father.
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 ESV