The Call to Follow Him
When you are at the fork of the road that leads to the cross of Jesus Christ, there is no tree behind which you can hide. Luke 9:57-62 describes the people who met Jesus on the Jerusalem road and were challenged to follow Christ, but who turned aside for reasons we call “practical.” That is one way of getting out of it. You can get tied up with home duties. After all, we must be practical! Putting practicality before obedience to God’s will has destroyed many a Christian life. On this turnpike there is no exit until you come to Calvary. You start on this road and there are no U–turns and no rest stops. The traffic is going where and when He says.
On my first visit to Southeast Asia, I met a godly old Chinese lady whose husband was proprietor of a million dollar business. Although both were Christians, their son was a notorious playboy. I was entertained at dinner in this home, and I said to the young man, “Are you coming to hear me preach?” “Why yes,” he said, “I’ll come.” That night, God saved that young man. The next day, he had the following notice printed in English and Chinese and mailed it to his friends and business contacts: “Hob Ong, having given his life yesterday to Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, sends this announcement to his friends and acquaintances, that he will no longer be seen in the haunts he has been accustomed to frequenting.” Stand up and be counted! This is what Christ demands!
We may ask what it means to follow Christ, to set our faces toward Jerusalem. Jesus’ answer was this: “If any man would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” Just as our Lord was bound to do the Father’s will by dying on the cross for us, so we are to have that attitude of heart and mind which will be just as determined to live for Him. Things may be disappointing, and experiences may be frustrating; but we are to do all things without grumbling or questioning (Philippians 2:14). Some things that we are called upon to do may not seem reasonable, but we are to walk by faith. We are to be shining lights in a dark place. Our Jerusalem is the place of our testimony, where we live surrendered to the will of God.
But in Jesus’ call there is also a promise: the Lord has gone ahead, and we need only to walk in His steps. The disciples were amazed and afraid, but Jesus died, rose again, and kept them true to Himself. He will do the same for us. We can confidently say with the Apostle Paul, “Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).
- Where does the Christian’s hope come from?
- Is their hope in this life? Why or why not?
- How does one “take up their cross”?