Follow Jesus. What does that even mean? Let’s be honest: We can’t even see Him! How in the world are we supposed to follow an invisible man? How are we going to know if it’s Him and not just our own imagination? What if it’s just my own thoughts that I’m following? All of this ‘following’ can be so tricky.
I grew up in the church. I’ve gone my whole life. When I was 15 years old, I made a decision to follow Jesus. Not because my parents hoped I would. Not because I thought it was just a good way to have some fire insurance from hell. But because I knew that Jesus was asking me to follow Him and I trusted Him.
But the question from that day on has been this:
How do I follow Jesus? Practically speaking, what does that look like or even mean?
If you’ve ever wondered the same thing then follow me further into this post and see what conclusions I have come up with so far. (See what I did there?)
I have read the Gospel accounts of Jesus many times and, almost every time that I do, I scratch my head and laugh a little bit when we read things like this:
Dudes are fishing. Jesus yells from the shore, “Hey, you dudes out there fishing – come follow me!“. The dudes follow.
What?! Just like that? Is that how this is supposed to work for me, too?
It’s a strange scene.
In many ways, I kind of expect that Jesus would have been more likely to yell, “Hey, you dudes out there fishing – believe in me and THEN, follow me.” But that’s not what He did.
Instead, Jesus yells for people like them, like me, and like you – to simply follow Him. Forget having all the answers.
Don’t worry about the ‘what if’s’.
Just follow Jesus.
Sounds easy enough, right? Sometimes I think that Jesus must have been the original Aerosmith songwriter for the song, Walk This Way. It just makes sense. He probably told them to follow Him, then He would sing as they followed, ‘Walk this waaaay. Talk this waaaayyy.’
But I struggle if I’m being honest with what it means to follow Jesus. It is hard for me, sometimes, to know what to do.
I can’t see Him physically.
I can’t hear Him audibly.
I can’t differentiate His voice from the one(s) in my head.
So what can I do? What can any of us do when we feel like we’re being asked to follow Jesus?
For example, I recently left my job where I made hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to “follow Jesus”. I’m not sure now how to take care of my family of six. It feels pretty scary. Did I hear Jesus ask me to follow Him – or was that just a bad case of indigestion?
I know a family who sold their home, their possessions and boarded a plane to move to another country and follow Jesus.
I heard a story once about a guy who felt like Jesus told him to follow Him and work at an all-you-can-eat pizza buffet (called CiCi’s) and a woman he’d never met walked up and told him that she didn’t know why, but she felt like she was supposed to talk to him.
I’ve read the stories from history of countless other people who were sure that they were supposed to follow Jesus and they ended up being sawn in half, thrown to the lions, martyred for following Him, watched their families killed for doing it, and many other things that make me shake my head in disbelief.
It all makes me wonder sometimes:
If we follow Jesus, does it mean that life is going to suck and be hard for the rest of our lives? Am I going to have to lose all my money and live in fear? Is it really that good of a decision to follow Jesus if this all proves to be true?
Maybe I’m all alone with these questions. But I doubt it. I’m guessing that you may have wondered similar things as well. So here’s the answer I’ve come up with so far.
I don’t know. Maybe so.
I don’t know if that’s what it will cost me. Maybe so.
I don’t know if it will be hard for the rest of my life if I follow Jesus. Maybe so.
I don’t know if I will have to give up everything or how this one decision will affect my life. It may not always be so pleasant or easy. Maybe so.
But here is what I know.
What other options do I have? Where else would I go? Who else would I follow?
None of those options have worked out well for people either. So here’s what I’ve decided to do.
Follow Jesus anyways.
Does that satisfy all of the deeper questions? Nope. Does it ensure that it will always make sense? Nope. Does it help curb some of the doubts and fears that come with this decision? Not at all.
But somehow, for some reason, it feels like the decision to follow Jesus is the most logical, peaceful, and best decision I could ever make. I don’t know how it will all turn out in this life. But I know that if He is in front of me, then I will follow Jesus wherever He leads me.
What about you? What are the biggest issues or questions you wrestle with when it comes to following Jesus?
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