All You Have
18While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 19And he said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." 20Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 21And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. 22Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him. —Matthew 4:18-22
What does it take to follow Jesus? It is called discipleship. Discipleship is the intentional pursuit of Jesus that produces increasing likeness to Him by believing what He said and living like He lived.
1. Discipleship begins when you decide to respond to Jesus’ call with obedience. You are not a disciple if you are just an admirer of Jesus from a distance. You are not a disciple if you used to follow Jesus. You are not a disciple if you are not seeking to know what He said or learn how He lived.Many call themselves disciples but aren’t. It’s got to be complete surrender.
2. Disciples are called to a radical, growing relationship with Jesus. Disciples are called to die to self in order that they may live. Disciples are called to give so they can keep. It is a call to put others first and themselves last. Disciples will be required to speak up when others remain quiet. Disciples are prompted to move in directions with no known destinations.
3. Disciples are required to leave old dependencies, loyalties, and paradigms. Money, power, and pleasure all take on very different meanings. The first disciples left their nets. Where would their income come from now? They left their boats. What would keep them from sinking now? They left their father. Who would love and instruct them now? Disciples know the answer to all three questions is “Jesus.”
4. Disciples will be met with the most severe opposition and great pressure to compromise. Disciples are often misunderstood, isolated, and belittled. Disciples are called legalists, bigots, and hate-mongers.
5. Disciples follow Jesus together. Look around. If you are not surrounded by other disciples, YOU ARE PROBABLY NOT A DISCIPLE. Who are your closest friends? Are they following Jesus? If not, you need some new friends. A disciple seeks out and listens to others who have walked with Jesus longer he or she has. Disciples pursue relationships with others to teach them the disciplines of following Jesus in practical ways. Disciples mentor and encourage one another in Bible study, prayer, marriage counseling, family counseling, money and time management.
What does it take to follow Jesus? Everything. To live your life you have to lose it.
Prayer – Father, I want to be a true, totally committed Christ follower. I want to be surrendered, but my own sinful flesh keeps getting in the way. I find that when opposition comes, I don’t stand up very well against it. Forgive me for that, Lord. Enable me by Your Spirit to passionately, deeply, and completely follow You. Make me into the disciple You want me to be. In Jesus’ name, Amen.