I Have Decided to Follow Jesus*
Jesus was very specific. He came for you, but it isn’t about you…What are you talking about Cliff?
Years ago, we used to sing the song titled above mostly for altar calls/invitations. Think about the words of this song. “I have decided to follow Jesus…no turning back, If none go with me, I still will follow…the world behind me, the cross before me…”
Life is about following Jesus. It isn’t about us. It isn’t about our agenda, our schedule, our routine. In fact, all of those should be in line with God’s plan for our life – not ours. And following Jesus is costly.
I thought for many years that just having Jesus in my life and receiving His forgiveness for my sins were all I needed for my life. How mistaken I was. These gifts are predicated upon my desire to follow Him. Many people attempt to follow Jesus as long as they can get things from Him - as long as life
is comfortable. I can’t find that philosophy anywhere in Scripture. In fact, John tells in his gospel
(Ch. 6:66) following Jesus’ miracle of feeding the thousands with bread, many withdrew because He
no longer fed them physical bread (in other words, giving them what they wanted instead of what they needed!).
Allow me to give you some Scripture to meditate upon…
“…do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from
God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price…” - Apostle Paul (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
“For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; for if we live, we live for theLORD…”
Apostle Paul (Romans 14:7-8)
Jesus said, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits his soul?” - (Luke 9:23-25)
Following Jesus requires:
1. Commitment – It is all or nothing with Jesus. Just how committed are you to Him and His cause?
2. Consistency – Are you a “hit and miss” believer? Are you consistently praying, reading Scripture, witnessing your faith, attending worship with your fellow believers? How can you know what Jesus desires for you life, if you are not constantly and consistently seeking after Him?
3. Sacrifice – “taking up your cross” does not mean wearing a cross necklace – it means serving Jesus with all He has given you NO MATTER WHAT THE COST!!!
Now, I realize that these elements fly in the face of the current philosophies of many televangelists, talk show hosts, and highly visible religious figures who preach the success and prosperity gospel. But they do not preach the true gospel. The second best-selling book of all time (behind the Bible itself) starts with this phrase… “It’s not about you…”** God never promised us a rose garden. He promised that if we followed Him, He would never leave us. I believe Him! As the song says, “I’d rather have Jesus, than anything this world affords today…”
A new year is upon us. I don’t really believe in making resolutions because they have no binding power or accountability. But I do believe we can make choices with our free wills which can eternally alter our destinies.
What about you? It isn’t about you… Will you follow Jesus?
Several years ago around 1935, a missionary who had recently been forced to resign his post on the missionary field because of health reasons was speaking at a revival meeting. B. B. McKinney, a prolific song-writer who happened to be leading the music during the revival asked the former missionary what his plans were now. The missionary replied, “Wherever He leads I will go…” McKinney went home and wrote these words:
“Take up they cross and follow Me.” I heard my master say; “I gave My life to ransom thee, Surrender your all today.” He drew me closer to His side, I sought His will to know, and it that will I now abide, Wherever He leads I’ll go. My heart, my life, my all I bring to Christ who loves me so; He is my master, Lord, and King, Wherever He leads I’ll go.***
*I Have Decided to Follow Jesus – Old Indian Folk Song, arr. By William J. Reynolds ©1959, Broadman Press.
**Richard Warren, The Purpose Driven Life, Zondervan: Grand Rapids, ©2002, p. 17.
***Wherever He Leads I’ll Go – Words and Music by B.B. McKinney ©1936, Broadman Press.