If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. – Luke 9:23
They were walking along the road, a man said to Him, “I will follow you wherever you will go.” Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man has no place to lay His head.” – Luke 9:57-58
Christianity is full of “wannabes”. I can spot them easily because I was one for way too long. A wannabe wants all of the benefits of being a Christ follower: Heaven when we die, healing when we or a loved one is sick or hurt, and comfort when we’ve suffered loss just to name a few. When a wannabe needs Him, he or she wants and expects Him to be there for them and to meet their needs. On the other hand, a wannabe wants nothing to do with the cost of being a follower of Christ. Don’t ask a wannabe to deny themselves any of the pleasures or comforts of this world, and certainly don’t ask them to do anything they don’t want to do or is slightly uncomfortable. A wannabe won’t say it out loud, but with their actions say, “If I feel like it and I believe I can do what you ask of me, as long as it isn’t too inconvenient, I’ll do it. But, keep in mind, God, I’m not perfect, so don’t expect too much.”
The wannabe in the story came to Jesus and said, “Let’s do this! I’m ready to follow you wherever.” Now, right here is where many preachers get it so wrong today. Nearly every church would go ahead and count this guy as a soul won to the Kingdom. Churches count guys like this all the time and post the numbers on Facebook. In fact, if it were possible in the late 90’s, there is no telling how many preachers and churches could have counted me as a salvation because I got saved just about every other week. But, like the guy in the verses, I wasn’t willing to follow Jesus anywhere and everywhere. Jesus essentially talked the guy out of being saved, and He did it easily by making one essential statement: “Wannabe, it may cost you the comforts of your own home. You can’t stay where you are.”
No deal! Can’t do it! I like where I am.
So many students are heading back to school this week. So many of them have told God, “I will follow you wherever.” How many of them will remain when He says, “Follow me in the classroom, I want you to do your best?” “Nope, sorry Lord . . . I hate school work, it’s boring. Those teachers are boring, too” How many wannabes remain when He says “Don’t participate in the drunkenness, foul mouthing, drug using, sexually immoral debauchery that will be all around you” will simply say, “sorry, can’t do it. Everybody does that stuff, it is not that big of a big deal?”
What about the adults? What is the answer when God says, “Follow me in your current marriage?” “But, God, I’m not happy in this marriage! You do want me to be happy, right?”
What is the answer when God says, “Follow me while you are single?” “But, God, I hate being alone, I’ve never not had somebody by my side.”
What is the answer when God says, “Follow me at work?” “But, God, everybody else slacks off, and my bosses do nothing and they make more than me, why should I try so hard when nobody else does?”
What is the answer when God says, “Follow me at the restaurant?” “But, God, the waitress was rude and never filled my tea glass, she didn’t deserve a tip!”
What is the answer when God says, “Follow me at the football game?” “But, God, I’m just passionate about sports and really competitive. I get a little intense sometimes. Besides, its just a game.”
Where is it you have the most trouble following Jesus?
Figure it out and fix it.
Soon and very soon, we are going to see the King!