Following Jesus takes sacrifice, but we are never alone in the journey.
The word “obey” is one of the least used and understood words in American culture today. It seems antiquated, irrelevant and even puritanical. And in today’s culture, we want independence, freedom to express our own self will, and refusal to surrender what we perceive to be our “rights.”
So to “obey” would seem contrary to our very nature and the world around us.
But Jesus made it clear, if we are to be his disciple, we must obey what He commanded.
The last thing Jesus spoke to his disciples before leaving for Heaven was this: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go into all the world and make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach them to obey all that I have commanded you. Be sure of this I will be with you always even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
A “command” is an order or decree given by an authority. It requires adherence by the one it was commanded to in order for it to be carried out.
Anything less is disobedience.
The real question is what exactly did Jesus command his followers to do?
The first thing everyone of course defaults to is, “love one another.” Sounds good except that even the meaning of love has been twisted into meaning feelings more than actions.
While loving one another the Jesus way, would mean giving your life for others, there’s a command that precedes it. Love God with your whole heart, soul, mind and strength.
However, if that were truly the starting point and the actual real-life everyday experience of Jesus followers, then the outworking of that command would be more easily seen in the other commands that Jesus gave.
For example, Jesus requires (commands) His followers to:
- Forgive those who offend and hurt you
- Love your enemies
- Turn the other cheek
- Go the extra mile
- Don’t judge others
- Don’t be angry
- Don’t lust
- Don’t store up treasures on earth
- Use your gifts and abilities to advance his Kingdom
- Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick, visit those in prison
Even though many of those requirements seem contrary to the surrounding culture, it does not lessen their requirement for the Jesus follower. Nor does it excuse his follower from obeying just because it seems too hard to carry out.
No, the one who has surrendered their life to Jesus has the gift of the Holy Spirit within and is empowered to carry out his “orders” … and to do so with joy!
So, if you tell someone you are a Christian, a follower of Jesus, can you back it up by showing your adherence to Jesus’ commands? Would they be able to see the evidence of your obedience in your lifestyle and actions?
Anything less and according to Jesus, you are disqualified from being His follower.
You might be a relatively good person. You might be religious. You might be “trying” your best to obey His commands, but ultimately you are still putting yourself first.
Look again at the “commands” Jesus gives you if you want to be His follower. Now truthfully answer whether or not you are doing what he has “ordered” you to do.
If not, you have 3 choices:
- Stop calling yourself a Jesus follower.
- Stay in denial and keep pretending to be His follower.
- Make a commitment to become a true follower of Jesus by knowing and obeying His commands.
The beauty of having a relationship with God is that He still grants you a free-will and the grace to choose no matter what you decide. If you decide to be a true follower who obeys the commands of Jesus, you get the incredible advantage of having His Holy Spirit to carry them out through you.
What will you choose?
Todd Isberner is a husband, father, business owner and author of “What Every Man Needs to Know”. As a result of his own life-altering conversion, Todd invested over 40 years learning to master the cornerstones of a man’s life: faith, family, fitness and finances. His success is based on discovering the deeper meanings and impact each one of these has in life. A former business owner, professional media consultant and coach, today Todd invests his time mentoring other men along their journey to success. More at ToddIsberner.com
For a more in-depth look at how to create intimacy with God get Todd Isberner’s new book “What Every Man Needs to Know: How to Master Faith, Family, Fitness and Finance” here: https://www.amazon.com/What-Every-Man-Needs-Know/dp/0578429411/