In my last post in this series, I answered the first of three questions: Why should we follow Jesus? Today, we move on to the last two.
WHAT GETS IN THE WAY OF US FOLLOWING JESUS?
Even though Jesus’ authority points to Him as being God, we are not willing to follow Him. There are several things that get in the way. Things we are not willing to give up. Matthew highlights a few in his narrative.
- Family approval
- Acceptance from friends
- Our life
These all can keep us from following Jesus, surrendering all to Him, and worshipping Him.
WHAT DO WE NEED TO DO TO REMOVE THE HINDRANCE FROM FOLLOWING JESUS?
(1) We have to count the cost.
I believe people put more consideration into buying a house than to coming to Christ. You would never go to the realtors office, ask for a house, and buy the first one they present to you without checking it out.
Instead, you inspect the house yourself. Drive around the neighborhood. Check out the school district. Make sure the price is fair and the inspection checks out. You bring your friends and family over to get their opinion. You do all those things because buying a house is a 15 to 30 year investment. As well as you want to be sure it is going to serve your family well.
Jesus is relaying the same message to us. He is saying, “Don’t be too quick to follow me. Count the cost. Realize for what you are signing up. If you are truly my disciple, there is a hard road ahead of you.”
(2) We can’t trust in something other than Jesus.
In our narrative the disciples trusted in a boat. Some of you may trust in your bank account or intellectual abilities. Whatever it is, we fail to trust in Jesus because we are trusting in something else. As this story proves, however, a boat will only carry us so far. A bank account will only sustain us for so long. Our intellect can only help us as long as our mind remains intact. Inevitably, these things will fail us.
You see, it is foolishness to put our trust in anything but Jesus. He is the only one who can save us.
Like these men in our narrative, once we realize trusting in anything else will fail us, we must turn to the only one who can save, Jesus Christ. After turning to Him, we must worship Him because Jesus isn’t just a life boat to save us when we are drowning. He is the almighty God who deserves our daily worship.
(3) Jesus is God not just another man.
In our narrative, Jesus proves that He is God. Disciples follow Him at His request. He calms a storm. He heals two demon possessed men with just a word. The demons submit to Him and call Him the Son of God. These things point to His authority and the fact that He is God. God deserves our worship, so we must give that to Him.
We don’t, however, just worship Him when we come together on Sunday. We also worship Him by:
- Recognizing His authority over our lives.
- Putting Him first
- Submitting to Him
- Obeying Him
In other words, we worship Him with our whole lives.
(4) We can’t value anything above Him.
The people of the city valued their possessions over Jesus, allowing their loss to blind them. When we value something more than God, we are in violation of the first of the Ten Commandments. The first commandment tells us not to put any other gods before the One True God. When we do, we have made that thing into an idol – a god.
In order to rid ourselves of these idols, we have to realize they are not going to last. They are man made. They are temporary. Temporary things break down. They fail us. They disappoint us.
So then, we can’t hold our possessions in greater value than God. We have to be willing to give those up for God. We have to see them for what they are. We can’t allow them to blind us.
(5) Our heart has to be pierced by the gospel.
Only a heart that has been regenerated will submit to God and give Him the worship that is due Him. So we must believe in the gospel.
We must believe that we are sinners in need of a Savior. Jesus is that Savior. He is because He lived a perfect life, and died the death we deserved. He went to the cross to pay the price for our sins. He faced the wrath of God that we deserve. When we believe that, we are saved. Our heart is pierced by the gospel.
Our heart must be regenerated before we can follow Jesus, surrender all to Him, and truly worship Him. You can’t do these things without a changed heart. To try to do so is futile.
Once we come to Christ, count the cost, recognize Jesus is God, and realize we can’t trust in and value anything more than Him. Once we have done those things, we will be in a place where we will be able to follow Jesus, surrender all to Him, and worship Him.
Question for Reflection
- What do you allow to get in the way of you following Jesus?
This series is adapted from my recent sermon: Why Should We Follow Jesus?