Several weeks ago in a sermon pastor Bill said this.... "Many people talk about their conversion experience as accepting Jesus. While I never find him to invite us to accept him, I do see in the New Testament that he invites us to follow him over and over."
I thought it was a remarkable insight.
The difference between accepting someone into my circle and following someone is night and day.
I can accept you without accepting that you have anything of value for me. But if I follow you it indicates you have something I too desire.
I thought about the difference it would make in the lives of many people if they decided to follow Jesus instead of just accepting him.
While it is true we accept what he has done for us it can not end there. His grace is given freely, open for all to accept, but he didn't invite the rich young ruler to accept his grace. Instead he asked the ruler to make a choice... Follow me or follow your dreams of riches.
In the old testament book of Zephaniah God is warning his people of coming destruction. He is angry. And his holiness can no longer withstand the choices the people were making.
English Standard Version (ESV)
4"I will stretch out my hand against Judah
and against all the inhabitants of Jerusalem;
and I will cut off from this place the remnant of Baal
and the name of the idolatrous priests along with the priests,
5 those who bow down on the roofs
to the host of the heavens,
those who bow down and swear to the LORD
and yet swear by Milcom,
6 those who have turned back from following the LORD,
who do not seek the LORD or inquire of him."
What grabs me about this passage is this...
These are the chosen people. Just like us. They were his children. But he was willing to wipe them out for this reason...
They wanted to follow 2 gods.
And the creator will not compete for our affection.
We have the choice... We follow him or we follow something else.
So this is my question today...
Who or What do I follow?
How do I spend my day?
Who do I spend my time with?
What are my goals?
If I am desiring to follow Jehovah God how will I look different than these people did?
They were in fact still acknowledging him. They may have even gone to church.
But he was not their only leader.
And that's what he wants his followers to understand.
He must be the only leader.
Or we can't follow him at all.
Some will choose as the rich young ruler did to turn and walk the other way. I don't believe It was so much about the riches but the man's allegiance was the heart of the matter.
The following will require a sacrifice. But as a friend recently told me...The sacrifice is always worth it on the other side.
It's no secret following him costs us.
It may be our wealth, family, reputation, friends, dreams, or comforts.
But I have made the choice.
I have decided to follow Jesus. No turning back...
No turning back.