There are 3 main reasons our ability to follow Jesus has suffered:
1. The opposite of follow is to disregard, to disobey
We have been lax in our following, choosing easy Christianity, finding excuses and making the elements of following unimportant in our lives (prayer, Bible study, gathering, etc)
2. Another opposite of follow is to lead, to go before
We have become arrogant in our wisdom and “liberty.” By our arguments to others against following we are in actuality lecturing God on how or where He is wrong to expect our commitment and sacrifice.
3. We have equated belief with following
Perhaps it began with Martin Luther when he discovered the grace of God in his heart. The pendulum of faith and works, of what it means to be a Christian, swung all the way from works alone (confessionals, penance, etc, earning your way to eternal life) to the opposite extreme which was belief alone. As James was led by the Spirit of God to teach us, it’s both! James 2:14-26
Jesus didn’t call His disciples to believe Him but to follow Him.
Matthew 4:19, Mark 2:14, John 1:43, John 21:19
Christianity is not just believing the right doctrine but also imitating Jesus by following His example.
So true saving faith produces actions attesting to salvation!
“However, this misunderstanding about believing only, erodes the value of Christian service, love, of working out our salvation ‘with fear and trembling’ (Philippians 2:12). It nullifies the call we have of ‘discerning what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect’ (Romans 12:2). This mantra of believing only reduces godliness, compassion, acts of mercy, and the pursuit of justice as mere add-ons to Christian life. The mantra of believing only is exactly what James tried to correct…”Pastor Alex Romero (see James 2:14-26, as above)
Jesus said if we believe then we would see great miracles.
Matthew 17:20, 21:21, Mark 9:23, John 11:40
But if we follow Him,
He will make something awesome of our life!
He assures us of impact!
He promises eternal life! Matthew 7:21
He invites us to His mission!