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  • Writer's pictureRichard Parrish

Think Twice Before You Follow Jesus

As a young boy, I was encouraged by my church to “accept Jesus as my Savior.” I was led to believe that my sins would alienate me from God’s love; that if I would acknowledge them, ask Jesus to forgive me then all would be well – heaven secured and hell avoided.

For me, instruction on what it means to be a disciple (a follower of Jesus) was seldom taught.

Over the years I’ve discovered that sins can be forgiven, but to follow Christ is a life-long process that continually reveals my sinfulness and requires my obedience to God’s Word.

Each time I recognize my sins (more frequently than I care to admit), I’m invited to confess (acknowledge), repent (turn from), and deny (sacrifice) self, by choosing obedience to God.

Our Western world stresses individualism.

We’re encouraged to dream large, reach for the stars, and envision a life filled with abundance, comfort, and all the bling that suggests we are successful. “What’s in it for me,” is the popular mantra of our day. However, Jesus says:

“If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” [1]

Since the day I chose to accept Jesus as my Savior, I have gradually learned that to follow Jesus is costly. It’s not always comfortable. It can be challenging frightening, and awkward. Frequently I find my personal preference in opposition to Jesus’.

I admit: It’s easier to think about God’s role in my life and to ignore my responsibility in God’s plan to help others, and share the gospel.

When I’m tempted to shape my faith to fit my need, I frequently run into Scripture that makes me squirm. I find myself wanting to perform interpretive backflips to twist Scripture to conform to my desire and justify my disobedience.

To follow Jesus requires my acknowledgment that He is The Truth. In our post-modern (post-Christian) world, this is not popular. To deny truth frees me from my responsibility to obey anyone other than my self.

Unless I’m willing to deny my self, I cannot (with integrity) follow Jesus.

Think twice before you decide to follow Jesus. It’s costly, but you cannot begin to comprehend the dividends you will receive!

Here are some questions I’m asking myself this week:

  • Is following Jesus a convenience or a commitment?

  • What are the areas in my life that God desires me to relinquish control?

  • What sin(s) in my life need to be confessed and repented?

  • Why am I resisting?

  • Will I allow God’s Word to be the umpire?

Praying for each of us this week.


[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989), Lk 9:23.

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