Strangely enough, these two words are rarely found in our New Testaments of today, yet in our thinking, and sometimes our singing, they are very prominent.
Further, while they appear to be the same thing, they are not, they are really vastly different.
There are a total of 21 times in the four Gospels that the Lord Jesus calls for people to “follow Him.” Seven of these, are when He called the 12 disciples to join Him in His earthly ministry. The remaining 14 times, He calls believers to follow Him.
Strangely, a close examination of these 14 times will bring a very striking fact into view. In the majority of these contexts, Jesus is talking about Himself going to the Cross, and while doing so invites us to follow Him.
In other words, when He calls us to follow Him, He is calling us to the Cross, not for the forgiveness of our sins, but rather for the surrender of all that we think we are, all that we cling to for life, all that we possess, and all that we are in Adam. He is not calling us to be like Him and do the things He does, but rather for our own crucifixion, or more commonly called the “death of self.”
How much does one give up when he dies? How much can one cling to when he dies? How many rights does a dead person have? Following Jesus costs everything; it is surrender, allowing Him to do with you whatever He chooses.
In contrast, most Christians commit their lives to Him, to do what He wants them to do. That leaves them with a self-centred life. The focus is on what they can do for Him rather than Him living His life through them.
- I will do.
- Saved by grace, live by doing.
- Self-improvement program.
- Christ as Savior, Lord, & Master conditional on my will.
- I will do it for Him.
- Lord, You do with me as You choose.
- Saved by grace, and living by grace.
- No longer I that lives, but Christ in me.
- Christ is my very life, unconditional to God's will.
- He will do it through me.
Luke 9:23“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” There is only one cross, Calvary’s cross, you died on it 2000 years ago. Are you surrendering to that truth today?