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Follow Jesus, Then Serve

Jesus said in John 12:26, “If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honor.”

Sometimes, we get the cart before the horse.

Jesus made it hard for people to follow him because he wanted genuine, not superficial, followers.

Notice Jesus’ tough recruiting procedure:

“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23). Jesus said this right after telling his disciples that he would be slain. Note the steps: (1) Deny self. That means you are no longer first in your life. Jesus and His cause are first. (2) Take up cross daily. That means suffering. Taking up your cross is not the prosperity gospel. We’re not doing this for fun, nor are we doing it for money. It is not seeing what I can get for myself. It may mean unpopularity. You are not in this to develop fans for yourself. You are not even in it to get people to like you and tell you how wonderful, dedicated, talented, and sincere you are. It could mean physical pain, being ostracized, loss of a job, or giving up a life dream. It could mean many things, but the cross indicates suffering.   Don’t be deceived by preachers who promise smooth times and prosperity. Jesus didn’t promise that.

A certain man volunteered to follow the Lord.  Jesus answered, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.”  (Luke 9:58).   Following Jesus could mean the loss of all possessions. Are you willing to lay aside your earthly treasures?

“Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:33).

When Jesus had demonstrated his ability to gather a large catch of fish after the fishermen, John, James, and Peter had been unsuccessful, he said to them, “Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.” (Luke  5:10). They responded by bringing their boats to land, FORSOOK ALL, and followed Jesus. When you follow Jesus, you may need to leave everything else behind to focus on Him.

“Where I am, there shall also my servant be.”  Where is Jesus? He is always in the place of doing God’s will. The negative side of this is that there are a lot of places  Jesus would not be. Where you seek entertainment or pleasure, is that where Jesus would be? I believe  Jesus thoroughly enjoyed life and came to give the believer abundant life. He thoroughly enjoyed going to wedding feasts and celebrations  –  but always in the type place and in an activity that could bring honor and glory to God. A good question is, would Jesus go to the place I am considering?

Jesus always took a stand on doctrines and morals. Are you where Jesus is on the issues of life? You can only determine that by diligent study of the Word of God.

Jesus took time alone with God. “And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.” (Mark 1:35). If it was important for Jesus, the perfect Son of Man, to spend time alone with God the Father, it should be doubly necessary for us as weak, frail human beings to spend time with Him.  Jesus said in John 15:5, “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” And in v. 7, “ If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”  To abide means to stay, be at home with, and make yourself at home with Him.  Think of your closest human relationship, the person you feel most comfortable with. You feel that way because you spend much time with that person. That’s the kind of relationship the Lord wants with you.   And that relationship is the key to having His power on your life.

Jesus described this relationship further in John 14:20-21. “At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.”   Please note that the measure of closeness to the Lord is demonstrated by having and keeping his commandments. It is not just knowledge about Him but knowing, having, and keeping his commandments. True love for Jesus results in obedience.

Martin Luther commented:  “I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.”

In Luke 10, we have the story of Mary and Martha. Martha complained because she had to do all the hospitality work by herself. All Mary did was sit at the feet of Jesus and listen. Jesus responded to Martha by saying, “Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:  But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42).

We must know, by conviction, that Jesus wants to spend intimate time with us: to listen to us, to talk to and instruct us through His Word, to love us, and to let us love Him.

Acts chapter 4 makes an astonishing statement. The early church in Jerusalem was experiencing persecution from the Jewish leaders. Peter and John (formerly fishermen) were the spokesmen for the church at that first trial. The Holy Ghost filled them, and they spoke the message of Jesus boldly and clearly. The rulers, elders, scribes, high priest, and his relatives all listened to Peter. When Peter finished speaking, Scripture says they perceived Peter and John as unlearned and ignorant men. They marveled and took knowledge that they had been with Jesus (Acts 4:13).

Being with Jesus and following Him are the prerequisite steps for serving Jesus. TAKE TIME to get to know Jesus through Bible study and prayer so that you can serve Him in power. No shortcuts. Take the time.

About Dale B

I am a born-again Christian who loves to write and share the Good News about Jesus. Raised on a small Wisconsin farm and saved at age 12, I have been active in Christian service since that time. My many years as a pastor, accountant, and lay worker in the church have equipped me to help those in need. In retirement now in Texas, the Lord has led me to writing as a means of winning people to Christ and helping Christians grow in the Lord. By God’s grace I hope to be a blessing and encouragement to you.

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  1. Dale,
    Such valuable info and great message. There is absolutely NO shortcuts in getting acquainted with His Word and His commandments and connecting to the Spirit.
    Thanks for a great article.
    God Bless~

  2. yes we get the christian life the wrong way round

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