You Want Me To Do What?

We say a prayer, sign the back of our Get Out Of Hell Free cards, and continue along our merry way. That’s how you’re saved, right?

Jesus begs to differ. From the Amplified Bible:

“And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to follow Me [as My disciple], he must deny himself [set aside selfish interests], and take up his cross daily [expressing a willingness to endure whatever may come] and follow Me [believing in Me, conforming to My example in living and, if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in Me]. 24 For whoever wishes to save his life [in this world] will [eventually] lose it [through death], but whoever loses his life [in this world] for My sake, he is the one who will save it [from the consequences of sin and separation from God]. 25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world [wealth, fame, success], and loses or forfeits himself? 26 For whoever is ashamed [here and now] of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory and the glory of the [heavenly] Father and of the holy angels.”

Luke 9:23-26

We could call this Following Jesus 101.

Step One: Deny self by setting aside selfish interests. 

That leads to human nature asking this question, what’s the difference between selfishness and self-interest? Your glory or God’s? Is that the answer? 

Your needs? Seek first His Kingdom, and you’ll have all you need. 

Step Two: Be willing to endure whatever may come.

Taking up your cross is an obvious metaphor. As for endurance, we have to be trained (2 Peter 1:5-8; James 1:2-4). 

Step Three: Follow Jesus by believing/trusting in him, conforming to his example (Gentle Jesus?), and maybe suffering or dying because of allegiance to him. 

This has a Romans 12:1-2 vibe. 

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Romans 12:1-2

I will die, so will I die living for me, or Jesus? If the former, I face the consequences of sin and separation from God. If the latter, I’ll be saved from it. 

Only Jesus knows what it’s like to be separated from God, which was on the cross. 

I can gain everything and lose it all. 

In this next verse, I just now noticed one part of it. 

“For whoever is ashamed [here and now] of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him…”

He’ll be ashamed of you if you’re even ashamed of Jesus’ words. So if I’m embarrassed at something he said, is that bad? Hmm…

I’m still pondering that one. 

Overall, one thing to note, Jesus did all three steps himself. He hasn’t told us to do anything that he hasn’t done. 

He denied himself and left Heaven. Took up his cross. And in the Gospel of John, he said he does whatever he sees the Father doing. 

I don’t even want to leave a vacation, let alone Heaven. 

We complain if the Wi-Fi is slow. 

Then we follow the crowds. 

Are you paying the price of following Jesus, or are you short-changing him?

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