Following Jesus Daily
Jesus gave many challenges to mankind. Possibly no challenge is greater than that given by Jesus in the two words, "follow Me." "Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me." (Matthew 16:24) The early disciples were invited to "follow Jesus" and become fishers of men. "Then He said to them, Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men." (Matthew 4:19) Jesus likewise demands commitment from us! He is still asking people to follow Him daily. Let us learn what it means to follow Jesus.
Following Jesus daily begins when you become a Christian. God is glorified only in the church. "Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen." (Ephesians 3:20-21) The saved are in the church. "Praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved." (Acts ) The saved are those who have obeyed the gospel. (Romans 10:17; John 8:24; Luke 13:3; Matthew 10:32-33; Mark ) Those in the church, the saved, must make a daily commitment and sacrifice to God. (Matthew 16:24) Nothing less than whole-hearted service pleases God. We must love God with heart, soul, strength and mind.
Following Jesus daily continues with seven day service. "Daily" is one of the key ideas in our service to Jesus. "Then He said to them all, If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me." (Luke 9:23) A "hot-cold," "hot-cold, "hot-cold" religion will never bring peace or spiritual progress. The church began with "daily" service. "So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart." (Acts ) The church continues with "daily" service. "But exhort one another daily, while it is called 'Today,' lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin." (Hebrews 3:13) Daily Christianity will keep us faithful. "Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience." (Hebrews 4:11)
Following Jesus daily involves the two greatest commandments. "Jesus said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets." (Matthew 22:37-40.) Christians must love God and love one another. "This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you." (John 15:12) Our love for fellow Christians must be like the love Jesus has for us. "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:34-35) God commands us to love one another. "If someone says, 'I love God,' and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also." (1 John 4:20-21) You can not be "wrong" with a fellow Christian and "right" with God at the same time.
Following Jesus daily involves serving others. Jesus taught the disciples servitude when He washed their feet. "So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them." (John 13:12-17) They had been concerned about the "great places" in the kingdom but Jesus wanted them to learn to be "servants" not "rulers." Love must motivate us to serve one another daily. "For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another." (Galatians 5:13)
Following Jesus daily is strengthened as we resist temptation. Those that avoid and endure temptation are truly blessed. "Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him." (James 1:12) Temptation comes to everyone. Those that persevere and endure these temptations will be blessed with a crown of life. These trials of one's fidelity, integrity and virtue are the proving ground for eternity. The crown of life is the blessing promised to those that endure the temptations of life.
Following Jesus daily involves daily evangelism: The life blood of the church is evangelism. Jesus said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.” (Mark 16:15-16) Men and women that have committed their lives to the Lord must be motivated by love, to share the gospel with others. It is past time for all of us to carry out God’s command to bring forth fruit. (John 15:1-8) If we do not bear fruit we will be cut off, cast into the fire and burned! Paul wrote, “And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” (2 Timothy 2:2)
Following Jesus daily changes our homes. When families follow Jesus: (1) Husbands will love their wives (Ephesians ), (2) Wives will submit to their husbands (Ephesians -24), (3) Children will be trained to serve God (Ephesians 6:4), and (4) Children will honor and obey their parents. (Ephesians 6:1-3) Homes are torn asunder when daily Christianity is not practiced. "Daily" Christianity will lead to happy and strong families. "Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them. Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged." (Colossians 3:18-21)
Following Jesus daily is our greatest need and most pressing challenge. Are you dedicated to Jesus in your daily living? Paul is a good example of the commitment needed. "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." (Galatians 2:20) Those that follow Jesus daily will be in heaven. Is your name written there?