…by Jeff Sanford
On Sunday, nearly sixty Suncresters made a decision to either follow Jesus for the first time or renew their commitment to following Jesus. So what exactly does it mean to let Jesus be your leader and where do we start?
I’m certainly not an expert on leadership or on Jesus, but I do know that if Jesus is LEADING you, then you must be FOLLOWING him. In Luke 9:23, Jesus tells his followers that, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.”
Wow! Luke 9:23 is an extremely challenging passage, but it gets at the core of what it means to truly follow Jesus. First of all, it’s a daily commitment. With all that’s going on in the world today and all the things that are guaranteed to satisfy us, it’s easy to lose track of what or who it is that’s influencing our decisions on a daily basis. Often times, I veer off the right path but Jesus reminds us that we must commit daily to pursuing him.
Jesus also tells us to take up our cross and follow him. What does that mean? To me, it means that I must reject the things that get in my way of spending time in his Word, praying over Scripture, and pursuing him so that I can know the way that Jesus is leading. It means that I must do the things that Jesus does rather than what comes naturally or feels comfortable. It means that I must reject what earns the praise of men and concentrate on what pleases God. It means I must love when I’d rather seek revenge. It means I must offer grace and forgiveness when I feel like holding a grudge. It means I must serve when I’d rather sit back in comfort. It means I must have hard conversations when I’d rather not ruffle any feathers. It means I must be patient when I’d rather lose my temper. And it means that I must give generously when I’d rather save or pursue my own desires.
Following Jesus also means that I probably won’t look or act like everyone else around me. Following Jesus means that a lot of people will probably disagree with my decisions. Following Jesus means that I will have to make sacrifices in this life. But a life of following Jesus offers love, grace, peace, hope, strength, joy, contentment, and abundant life that you will find in nothing or no one else. And when you’re following Jesus, you understand that the benefits last for eternity!