May I be real with you? May I tell you, at times, I’m
afraid terrified to follow Christ? And I don’t think I’m alone; I think there are a lot of Christians who, if we were honest for a moment, would admit it is a terrifying prospect to consider TRULY following Jesus. The path down which He leads, scares me at times.
Here are three reasons I’m afraid to follow Christ:
1. I like to be liked. I want people to like me and think well of me. But, I know that if I truly follow Christ there will be many who despise me, and even people who seek to do me harm. Jesus said, “Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:20a).
2. I enjoy luxuries. It’s easy for me to say I would be content with just the bare necessities (1 Timothy 6:8), when I’ve never been down to just the bare necessities. I haven’t yet experienced what Paul had, when he wrote, “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need” (Philippians 4:11-12). I have only know abundance. And honestly, the prospect of being “brought low,” for the cause of Christ, is chilling.
3. I enjoy relaxation. My favorite thing in the world is a hammock in the shade. But Jesus doesn’t call me to a lifetime of shady hammock relaxation; He calls me to the fields, white and ready for the harvest. He calls me to the battleground. He calls me to the work. In his second letter to Timothy, Paul wrote to tell his companion to be, “a good soldier” (2:3), “an athlete,” (2:5), and a “hard-working farmer” (2:6). I like easy. I like comfortable. That’s why true discipleship is terrifying to me–because it is often sweaty, dirty, back-breaking work.
This doesn’t mean that a true disciple will never be liked, enjoy luxuries, or get to relax. But it does mean that if I am going to follow Christ, I have to decide which is more important to me — my comfort or my Christ, my relaxation or my Redeemer, my stuff or my Savior.
There was once a rich young man who decided it wasn’t worth it to follow Christ. He was too afraid to let go of the phyiscal in exchange for the spiritual, and he went away sorrowful (Matthew 19:22).
I will not allow my fear to win out! I know that my labor is not in vain in the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:58). I know that Christ is coming back, the trumpet will sound, the dead will rise, and His disciples will be caught up together with Him in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18). I know that in Him I have an abundant life (John 10:10).
I will swallow my fear. I will allow the Word to en”courage” me. I will know that He is with me. I will put my trust in Him. I will do my best to deny myself and daily pick up my cross and follow my Lord and Master (Luke 9:23).
Will you join me?
I love you and the God of the truly abundant life loves you,