“Following Jesus is more than nodding a head, raising a hand, signing a card, or repeating a prayer – though someone coming to Christ can do any of those. Following Jesus is not returning to life as usual, the only difference being that we’re now going to Heaven. Following Jesus is abandoning trust in ourselves, surrendering all we are and have to Him. This, and nothing less, is discipleship.” – Randy Alcorn

Before I take a long trip, I go into obsessive preparation mode. I not only attend to what’s necessary; some alter-ego suddenly shows up and before I even know what’s come over me I’m organizing forgotten closets, ironing piles of clothes that have been sitting there for weeks, and scouring hidden places in my home that rarely get cleaned. All of the tasks that usually get ignored suddenly become a priority when I think about what I will leave behind. The sad part about this strange phenomenon? There’s a costly exchange. I often become so attached to the here and now that I sacrifice the joy of what is to come. 

If James and John are among the disciples who immediately followed Jesus, I am the disciple who hesitates.

When it comes to following Jesus, I often resist a new direction if it means leaving the comfortable to embrace the great unknown. I often weigh the sacrifice before I agree to the service. I often get intimidated by the crowd and hold back when I know He’s calling me to speak up. I often become so attached to the here and now that I sacrifice the unrivaled joy that comes from intimately and immediately following Christ.

But James and John didn’t hesitate.

Jesus called them, and smack in the middle of relationships, responsibilities, and very real life, they left all that they had and followed Him. No last minute prep, no dramatic persuasion, no obsession with personal agendas, and no holding onto the past. Man, I want to follow like that.

I’m blown away at the definition of this word and how it relates to my walk with Christ:

im·me·di·ate·ly

  1. At once; instantly
  2. Without any intervening time or space

 

This one thing has proven to be true over and over again in my life: the rate at which I’m willing to follow Jesus is directly proportional to the proximity of my relationship with Him in that moment. James and John were tenacious in their following because they believed that Jesus was who He said He was. Though they still had much to learn, they trusted that following Jesus was greater than anything this world had to offer. They not only trusted, they were transformed by being in His presence. Undeniably changed, they left everything that had the potential to come between them and a SOLD OUT relationship with Jesus.

 

A real encounter with Jesus changes everything.

 

So what about you?

 

Where are you hesitant to show up?

What are you hesitant to give up?

With whom are you hesitant to speak up?

 

It may be that those hesitations – whatever it is that’s holding us back from an all-in surrender to following Christ –  have been fueled by idols of this world that have ever-so-subtly taken over the throne of our hearts. But when we’re saturated in His Word and intentionally seeking His presence, the transforming power of Christ in us is undeniable. The giving up doesn’t seem so costly after all. Our trust in His authority and goodness takes on new heights. In surrendering our will for His we gain so much more… because Jesus Himself is our greatest treasure.

Jesus later gave James and John the name Sons of Thunder, and we’ll get a glimpse of how their passionate discipleship turned the world upside down for Christ. As part of Jesus’s intimate inner circle, they learned how to channel their fiery personalities and grew in humility, mercy, and servanthood. James would be the first of the twelve to be martyred for his faith. John’s radical transformation would result in him being known as the apostle of love and the one Jesus asked to care for His mother at His crucifixion.

They followed Christ, no matter the cost… and it all started with one best “yes.”

Where do YOU need to surrender and say “yes” to His call today?

 

“And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him.” – Mark 1:20

 

I have decided to follow Jesus. No turning back, no turning back…

At His feet,

 

 

 

Week 2 Challenge: Identify one area of your life where you are hesitant to follow Christ fully.  Pray and ask God what worldly things might be holding you back, then write down any steps you can take this week to begin walking in obedience.

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