Christian obedience

All In: Following Jesus Wholeheartedly

All In: Following Jesus Wholeheartedly

Have you ever felt a nudge towards following Jesus more diligently? Maybe a sermon resonated with you, a friend invited you to church, or a scripture passage spoke volumes.

Perhaps you felt God’s presence in prayer, a crisis, or a joyful moment. Whatever the case, you sensed a pull to follow Jesus and become His disciple.

But what exactly does that mean? Is it just a prayer, church attendance, or good deeds? Is it a one-time decision or a lifelong commitment? Easy or hard, or maybe both?

The Cost of Discipleship

For answers, let’s look at Jesus calling His first disciples (Luke 9). Traveling and preaching the Kingdom message, He encountered people interested in following Him.

However, Jesus didn’t sugarcoat the cost. He challenged them to consider the commitment and make a radical choice.

One person said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family” (Luke 9:61). Seems reasonable, right? Family is important.

But Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62)

Was Jesus being harsh? Unrealistic? Not at all. He used a farming analogy to illustrate a spiritual principle. Plowing required focus. Looking back disrupted concentration, creating crooked furrows, wasted effort, and a poor harvest.

Similarly, following Jesus requires focus. A disciple glancing back at their old life loses focus, leading to poor decisions and wasted effort.

Jesus wasn’t saying to abandon family, neglect responsibilities, or ignore relationships. He emphasized not letting anything distract from our primary allegiance to Him and His Kingdom. He wanted our wholehearted following.

Challenges and Rewards

Following Jesus isn’t a walk in the park. It involves sacrifice, surrender, and service. Leaving behind old ways, habits, attachments, and ambitions. Taking up our cross, denying ourselves, and following Him.

Facing opposition, persecution, and hardship. It’s about faithfulness, obedience, loyalty, humility, teachability, and willingness.

But it’s also incredibly rewarding. There’s grace, forgiveness, and love. A new life, identity, purpose, and hope. Experiencing God’s presence, power, peace, and joy.

Joining His mission, community, family, and Kingdom. Growing in faith, character, wisdom, and fruitfulness. Sharing in His glory, honor, inheritance, and victory.

Following Jesus is the best decision we can ever make. It’s the most meaningful, fulfilling, and satisfying life. It’s the only path to true happiness, freedom, and life.

Following with All Your Heart

So, how do we follow Jesus wholeheartedly?

How do we avoid looking back or holding back?

How can we be fit for service in God’s Kingdom?

The answer is simple yet challenging. We need to love Jesus more than anything else – family, friends, possessions, comfort, reputation, dreams, plans, even our own preferences.

We need to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. He’s our Lord, Savior, Master, Friend, Treasure, Delight, our Everything.

This isn’t achievable alone.

  • We need the Holy Spirit, who empowers us to love God and obey.
  • We need the Word of God, guiding us.
  • We need the support and encouragement of the Christian community.
  • We need God’s grace, which covers and sustains us in weakness.

Most importantly, we need the example of Jesus, who loved us enough to give Himself for us.

He followed the Father’s will wholeheartedly, even to death on a cross. He rose from the dead, ascended to Heaven, and intercedes for us. He will return and welcome us into His eternal Kingdom. He deserves our wholehearted devotion, unwavering attention, and unreserved commitment.

He is the one who says to us, “Follow me.” Are you ready to follow Him with all your heart?

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Posted by onthesolidrock in Daily Inspiration, Discipline, Faith, Trust
Beyond Rules: Jesus’ Call to True Righteousness

Beyond Rules: Jesus’ Call to True Righteousness

Matthew 5:20“For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Many grapple with achieving God’s standards and pleasing Him. Traditionally, righteousness is seen as following rules and rituals.

The Problem: External Righteousness

Jesus challenges this view in Matthew 5:20.

He says our righteousness must surpass that of the Pharisees, known for meticulous rule-following. Their focus was external actions, neglecting the heart of the Law: love for God and neighbor.

This kind of righteousness is superficial and self-serving.

The Solution: Grace and True Righteousness

True righteousness isn’t achieved by our efforts. The answer lies in:

  • Grace: God’s grace forgives, cleanses, and empowers us. It transforms our hearts and enables us to live for Him. Righteousness comes from His work in us, not our own.
  • Jesus: He saves, teaches, and leads us. His sacrifice and intercession make us righteous, not by imitation, but by His presence within us.

Following Jesus’ Way

To live out this higher righteousness, we need to:

  • Examine Our Motives: Focus on our inner thoughts and attitudes, not just outward actions. We must avoid both outward sins and inward sins like anger, pride, or envy.
  • Love, Not Just Law: Seek the spirit of the Law, which is love. We practice the positive aspects of “doing good” and “showing mercy” alongside avoiding negativity like “lying” or “stealing.”
  • Internal and External: We demonstrate both internal signs of faith like humility and sincerity, and external acts like fasting, praying, and giving generously. Our goal is to please God, who sees our hearts, not impress others.

The Invitation: A Higher Calling

Jesus calls us to a deeper righteousness, one leading to the Kingdom of Heaven.

This call is not a burden but a blessing, a gift of true connection with God.

Prayer for True Righteousness

“Lord Jesus, I confess my sin and need Your grace. I believe You died for my sins and rose again for my righteousness. I accept Your call to a higher righteousness, surpassing that of the Pharisees, leading to Your kingdom. I surrender my life and follow Your way. Forgive, cleanse, and empower me. Be my Lord, Savior, and Example. Be my Righteousness, not by my imitation, but by Your indwelling. Amen.”

If you prayed this prayer, congratulations! You’ve embarked on a life-changing journey.

Next Steps: Growing in Faith

  • Find a Bible-believing church for fellowship and growth.
  • Read the Bible and pray daily to deepen your relationship with God.
  • Share your testimony to inspire others to seek Jesus and His righteousness.

May God bless you on your path with Him.

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“One Minute with God”

Posted by onthesolidrock in Daily Inspiration