“And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him.” (Matt. 9:9)
Not for a little while, not until you get too tired, not until things get bad, the situation seems unbearable, not until you can’t do so anymore, follow me until you die. No matter where I lead you, no matter the circumstances I allow to come into your life, no matter the possible consequences to yourself, no matter how much it hurts, the pain, the sorrow, the tribulations, no matter what, follow me.
Does this sound like you, are you willing to follow as much as you think you are? “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26) Can you leave everyone in your family, all of your friends and acquaintances behind and follow the Lord Jesus Christ?
How much of you belongs to the Lord, and how much are you holding onto for yourself?
Elijah ran away in fear for his life from Jezebel, John the Baptist doubted, Peter denied Him, Jeremiah said, “I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.” (Jer. 20:9) We all keep part of us from the Lord, the problem is those who will not admit it to themselves, or who believe that “He understands how important this is to me.”
“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” (Isaiah 53:3) Are you? Do you truly know sorrow, is your life filled with grief, or are you one of those Christians who is always walking around with a smile on your face, pretending that everything is right with the world, that God is in His temple and the world is filled with His love.
Most of the people that I have met that call themselves after the name of the Lord Jesus Christ seem to fit that analogy, although at times they will speak of the unrighteousness that has enveloped the world, the general context of their conversations is about themselves and the joy they feel, but for some reason those words come out as hollow. Perhaps because they will not speak in-depth about the prevailing evil that rests upon mankind, it is nearly always just a remark or two, and then it’s back to sunshine and rainbows. They hide from grief, they hide from sorrow, they have no intention of placing themselves in a position where they will have to face such things, and so they will follow the Lord only so far as it does not cause them any discomfort.
I have always wondered what Matthew saw in the face of the Lord when He said to him, “Follow me,” what his heart felt, the pull of his soul at that moment. “Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?” (Matt. 19:27) And all those who willingly left all forsook Him in the garden.
We would have done the same, and have, many times.
Some of those things we have forsaken for Him we have counted as dung, others, not so much yet, but this is an ongoing process, this sanctification that we find ourselves in.
To the point then, how willing are you to follow, how much are you truly willing to give up for the Lord Jesus Christ? Only you know, and you might as well be honest with Him, because He knows also. Will He forcefully remove that from you that is a barrier between Him and you? Possibly. But I believe that the Scriptures are true, He is longsuffering, He remembers that we are but dust, but that is not an excuse that you can use.
You know what it is, or better said, what they are, those items in your life, whether they be materialistic and tangible or thoughts within you, what you need to determine is this, when you arrive at that point on the path and He says, “Follow me,” will you leave them behind?