Pastoral Perspectives

Following Christ

The authenticity of someone who lived out his life without pretense but true to his teaching is worth considering following after.  The work of such a person shines forth the true characteristic of that person.  No one would want to follow someone who says one thing and does another.  There is inconsistency in that person’s character and in that person’s conduct.  In today’s world, we are looking for men and women of authenticity and integrity.  How do we find them except in those who are truly following Christ!

What does “following Christ” entail?  What does it mean by “following Christ”?  In the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus, we can see many incidents of how people followed Christ.  I would like to focus now on Luke 9: 57 – 62.  In this Bible passage, we saw different attitudes in wanting to follow Christ.  Following Christ is not at our convenience and in our comfort zone.  Will you follow Christ if it is going to cause you to forego this comfortable status or to lose your credentials?  Following Christ requires counting the cost of commitment to Christ.  When we follow Christ, it should not be in our conditions and at our demands but rather in His conditions and at His demands.  If we sought for an easy and comfortable life when making that decision to follow Christ, then we are going to be totally disappointed and disheartened!  When you say that you want to follow Christ, you must be willing to go all the way out and not follow half-heartedly or partially.  It is either you completely follow Him or you do not.

The statement “I will follow you wherever you go” (v. 57) is not that simple.  It involves the heart and it is where the will is acted out.  “Saying” and “Doing” must go hand in hand so as to be complete.  The hands must move where the heart desires.  Hands and heart should co-ordinate and synchronize together.  In v. 58, Jesus is saying, “Are you sure that you want to follow Me as I have no place even to have a good rest and sleep?”  I wonder if this answer of Jesus was taken aback by that man who chose to follow Jesus.  Here, Jesus is giving the test of commitment.  If that man truly wants to follow Jesus, he would not mind the inconveniences incurred in following Christ.  The real test comes when our commitment to follow Christ is at stake!  When God calls (summons) you to leave a certain position in your company to do something great for His kingdom, will you obey by tendering your resignation?

In verse 59, Jesus issued an invitation to another man, “Follow Me.”  How did this man respond to the call to follow Christ?  The answer this man has given seemed quite legitimate and convincing.  It might be an excuse that this man has given.  “Following Christ” does not permit excuses but it involves placing right priorities.  The question is: “What are your priorities?”  Is “following Christ” your priority? Or is “focusing on building your own resources” your priority?  The answer is very clear in verse 60b, “You go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”  It is doing the work of the kingdom of God which should be our focus.  It is kingdom business!

No Turning Back” concludes this Bible passage.  “Do not look back” but “look forward”.  We need to follow Jesus all the way.  We will find full satisfaction and fulfilment in following Him.  We need to always “fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith” (see Hebrews 12: 2).  Remember what happened to Lot’s wife when she looked back (see Genesis 19: 17, 26).  Let us remember Jesus’ words in Luke 9: 62, “No one who puts his hand to the plough and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”  Jesus is instructing us to be single-minded.  Follow Christ wholeheartedly and unreservedly!  Let us remember what Paul said in Philippians 3: 13b, “Forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead.”  In Philippians 3:14, I am reminded to “press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Following Christ requires counting the cost of commitment.  It also includes the test of commitment.  It requires the attitude of “No Turning Back”.  Let us, therefore, follow Christ wholeheartedly and unreservedly!