Because following Jesus involves a death. Not His. He already died and rose again. The death must be ours. We are called to die to ourselves – to our sins, lusts, wants and desires, our own plans and agendas, our wrong ways, our wicked thinking, our hurts, our self-centered mentalities. To follow Jesus wholeheartedly, we need to nail our sins to the cross, sacrifice our own dreams for our lives, and choose to live according to the ways of the Lord. We need to be willing to go where He sends us, to do what He wants us to do, to say what He wants us to say, to live How He wants us to live, and to learn to live in His will rather than our own. If this all sounds rather unappealing, if not exceedingly challenging if not rather impossible, let me say this. It is totally unappealing, exceedingly challenging, and thoroughly impossible in terms of our human flesh that wants to wave its magic wand, throw around its silver spoons, and bang its tiny fists in temper upon its highchair. I speak from experience. But this is not all.
The breathtaking love, the untold joy, the utterly amazing hope, the infinite peace, the majestic promise of eternity with God in heaven, the excitement and thrill and privilege and blessing of being called to follow the Lord Himself, the ecstasy of having an intimate relationship that goes on forever and ever with God Himself, the unconditional and amazing blessing of having 24-7 access to the Lord’s love, mercy, grace, and forgiveness, the fact that we can seek God and hear Him, the reality that we have the Bible to teach, change, instruct, and guide us, are just a few of the unbelievably countless results of making the decision – and commitment – to follow the Lord. Our death to self then, the challenges along the way that can seem excruciatingly painful at times, the trials and tribulations that come as we walk step by step after the Lord, they cannot and do not in any way compare ultimately to the promise of everlasting life and all the blessings that come along the way as we come and follow the Lord.
The rich young ruler in the Bible refused to give up his treasures – his possessions – to come and follow Jesus the Lord. Is there something in your life you have been unwilling to give up in order to wholeheartedly, unreservedly, come and follow the Lord Jesus Christ? Don’t wait another minute. Repent of your sins, put your trust in Jesus as Lord, take up your cross, and come and follow the Lord. There is no greater, no more important, and no greater reward ultimately than following Jesus the Christ!
Mar 10:17 And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?
Mar 10:18 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.
Mar 10:19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.
Mar 10:20 And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.
Mar 10:21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.
Mar 10:22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.