Follow Jesus

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Let’s take a moment and flashback to when we were about 4 or 5 years old. This was a time when we were starting to go to pre-school or kindergarten and play with other kids your age. Remember playing games like tag and hide and seek? Well picture this:

You are playing tag with all of your friends on the playground before snack time. You are running from the person who is “it” and then touch the bench that you consider to be “base” (where you are safe and cannot be tagged). Your friend that is “it”, however, continues to tag you because she does not think the bench is home base. You tell her that you cannot be the new tagger because you were on base. She then replies with: “there is no such thing as ‘base’”. You both continue to argue over the rules of the game, trying to prove to each other that you are right. You both want to make sure the rules you play by are being followed, and neither of you even wants to consider trying to play the game the way the other thinks it should be played.

The point? We all want to be in control. We want to decide what is going to happen in our lives. We want to make the choice ourselves. We think we know what’s best for our lives. We think we know how to play the game and sometimes are not willing to try to play the game a different way.

We do not want to admit that we are ever wrong either. Wouldn’t it be the most embarrassing thing ever if you were wrong? Because of that, we don’t admit it, we continue with the mindset that we are in control and we know what we are doing.

I want to challenge that idea today. What if we did actually lay down our own views and ideas that could potentially be wrong, and picked up the way that is right? Not just any way either, Jesus’ way.

We all want to be effective disciples in the Kingdom of God, but is that really possible if we are still clinging to the views that we, our human-selves, think is right? Are we able to fully pour into the lives of others if we have not yet fully let God pour into our own hearts? How do we let God pour into our hearts?

In Mark 8, Jesus states to the Disciples: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it” (vs. 34-35).

We are told that we need to deny ourselves, we need to pick up our cross, and we need to follow Jesus. That means admitting that we could be wrong. That means dropping anything that is holding us back from truly encountering Jesus and the love that He so freely gives us.

The Message Bible puts it as: “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering, embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how.”

Friends, if we claim to be followers of Jesus, we need to realize and understand that we are not in the driver’s seat navigating the roads of this thing called life! We need to move over and give Jesus complete control! We need to pick up our cross and embrace the suffering that we are going to encounter for the sake of Jesus and the gospel. It’s not going to be easy, but it will be worth it.

It is worth it because when we lose our lives for the sake of Jesus and the Gospel, God will make us prosper in ways that we never before imagined possible.

Check out Pastor Aaron’s podcast, “Who Is This Man?” to learn about how Jesus is the Son of God that saves us from having to navigate our own lives. Learn about how Jesus is the “Christ” that came to tear the veil of sin between us and God so that we may live eternally with Him in Heaven.

Who Is This Man?

Do you need to lay down your life for Christ? Are you willing to deny yourself for the sake of our Savior? Friends, deny your own will, pick up your cross, and follow Jesus. It will forever change you.

Jenny Bushnell,
College Student, Writer, Blogger

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