Relate: Following is easy these days. I have a twitter account with about 470 followers and follow about 280 people myself. When I first set it up, the number I was following ballooned to nearly a thousand before I realized how useless that was. Even the 280 I am “following” now… I never read their updates. Twitter is a waste of time. I also currently have 761 friends on facebook. Give it an hour and I am sure that number will change. Most of these friends I knew at some point in my past. About 20 or so I actually truly “follow” meaning their statuses show up in my notifications so I can ignore that little red number on top as well as the ever changing feed of spam on my home page just like everybody else. There’s about 13,600 of you following my blog. Thank you all very much for that, I am honored that you would consider my ramblings worth your time. It is a humbling responsibility I feel every time I sit down to write. I pray for you (as a group) that you would be blessed and changed to be more like Him as you read. But even if all those followers were reading me equally, it only works out to about 21 visits each. Considering I write every day for the past 2+ years… “Following” is easy.
Following Jesus is, however, a bit more involved than following someone on twitter, facebook, or wordpress. Three men have the desire to follow Jesus. He warns the first, “I’m homeless, if you follow me, you will be too.” The second wanted to finish up his family obligations before starting out. Jesus told him, “Let the dead bury the dead. You have a higher duty.” The third said, “I’ll follow, let me just say my goodbyes.” Jesus told that one, “If you follow me, there’s no looking back.” To each in their own way, Jesus warns His potential followers how serious a commitment He is calling them to.
React: Following Jesus is serious business. He spits out the lukewarm. It takes more than the click of a button or an occasional read to be His follower. Going to church once a week and singing a few songs, standing and sitting at the right times, just won’t cut it. Reading some spiritual stuff every now and then, even reading your Bible faithfully isn’t going to cut it. There are plenty of people who have read and studied the Bible a lot but will still end up in hell. When Jesus calls someone to follow Him, he calls them to come and die. He calls for complete surrender. He calls them to pick up a cross and start truly following. Jesus isn’t interested in fans. He wants imitators.
I just wish dying was easier. I pick up that cross, but somewhere along the way I keep dropping it. I leave all my junk there at the altar, but all too often I pick it back up on my way out the door. I want to be on fire but the entropy of daily life keeps cooling me off. That’s why I’m so glad that He calls me to pick up my cross daily. Yesterday, about halfway through the day I dropped it off somewhere. But today I can pick it back up and start again. Dying is a daily process. Following is something I do one step at a time… and He is patient.
God, I want to follow You anywhere. No matter what it takes, let me be about it. Help me to lay down my life. Help me to surrender my pride. Let that fire for You burn ever brighter in my heart. All too often I find that flame flickering. I find a convenient corner to drop off my cross. Let me pick it up again, today, and follow You.