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Monday, November 6, 2017

The Cost of Following Jesus

After reading my daily devotions this morning, I got up from the sofa to go into the kitchen and get a bottle of water. Two steps into the short walk to the kitchen, Toby and Flo, my two greyhounds were right behind me, following like a parade to the kitchen. I got my water and made my way back to the living room, the dogs right behind me. This scene goes on several times a day. No matter where I go in the house, the dogs are right there with me, following in my footsteps. They know that I am the one who feeds them, lets them out, and takes care of their every need. And no matter where I go, they will follow me.

Being a Christian means following in the footsteps of Jesus. It means living by His Word, following in His ways, striving to become more and more like Him. When we accept Jesus as Savior and give our lives to Him, we are called as His disciples. Being a disciple of Jesus gives us the gift of salvation, the promise of eternal life with God. But there is a cost to following Jesus.

In Luke 9:57-62, Jesus addressed the cost of following Him. As He traveled with His disciples, someone said to Him, "Jesus, I will follow You wherever You go." Jesus responded by saying, "Foxes have holes, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head." Jesus was pointing out that if we want to follow Him, we must be willing to face hardships and make sacrifices.

As Jesus and His followers continued on the journey, Jesus turned to one of them and said, "Follow me." When that person asked if he could bury his father first, Jesus responded by saying, "Let the dead bury the dead. As for you, go and proclaim God's kingdom." Here, Jesus was telling us that our call to discipleship takes precedence over everything else in life, over all other duties. Our number one priority should be His kingdom.

Finally, as they continued on their way, another follower said, "I'm ready to follow You, Lord. But first I'd like to go home and bid farewell to my friends and family." Jesus responded with, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and then stops to look back is fit for God's kingdom." Jesus wanted us to know that we need to be focused on the work of God's kingdom. That kingdom work must be more important to us than anything else in life.

When we decide to follow Jesus, as the old hymn says, there's "no turning back." We need to put the world behind us, pick up our cross, and follow Him.

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