Is being a Christian as easy as it seems? I mean with the social network now running full speed everyone is choosing a religion, right? I have found that most of us choose to say Christian based on the fact that we went to church growing up or maybe we attend church every Christmas and Easter, or maybe we go to church every Sunday and read our Bible every morning and condemn those that don't act like we do. We go to church so that we can check that off our "list" and read our Bible so that we can check that off. At the end of the week we feel really good because we have lots of check marks. (Pride) Or we feel really bad because we have no check marks. (depressed) What makes a "true follower?"
I think this question is found in words of the very one we follow. Matthew records it this way, "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me." Lets unpack this.
"Whoever" meaning this is for anyone, black, white, Asian, Indian. "whoever", poor or rich, fat or skinny.
"Wants" this word to me means desires. You must have a desire to follow Jesus. When you have a desire to do something you will do whatever it takes to get it done.
"to be" this is future words meaning Jesus will make us disciples we just don't magically become one.
"my" this word is showing ownership, meaning you are not your own anymore, the old you is gone and now you are becoming a "new person"
"disciple" simply follower, learner (is that a word?)
"must" this word allows no option, it is not "may" or "can if you want" it says must, this is a very important word here.
"deny" turn away, have no part of, stay away from. This is the hard part for all of us. (for me anyway)
"themselves" the object of what is being denied, you don't deny your bad habits or your job you deny yourself and all that goes with it. Take your motives out and put God's in.
"and" meaning plus something
"take up" you are going to pick something up, or add something to. You were just told to subtract something and now we are told to add something.
"their" your own, not your friends but yours, you own it!
"cross" an instrument used to torture and kill people.
"and" meaning plus something
"follow" to get BEHIND, your not leading here simply following. (again another tough one for me)
"me" the person you are following.
Now lets put that all together. "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me." Notice He never says where we are going just simply to follow. It may not be where you want to go but being a "True Follower" does not always mean being comfortable. Remember as we follow we are carrying a cross and denying ourselves.
Being a "True Follower" is stated here, forget yourself, love Jesus and because of that people are gonna make fun of you, hurt you, and for some, kill you.
Whats our reward for being a "True Follower?" Stay tuned and I will tell you.
Grace and Peace to you all in the name of our King!