“As they were walking along, someone said to Jesus, ‘I will follow you wherever you go.’” – Luke 9:57-62
In a previous blog I wrote about some of the catch-phrases Christians use that drive me nuts. I’d like to add to that list. It is the phrase that says, “I’ve invited Jesus into my life.” How does a person do that? It makes Jesus sound as if He is a cosmic add-on whose primary purpose is to enhance our current desires and give religious legitimacy to our plans for the good life, whatever that may mean. Inviting Jesus into your life takes on the idea that Jesus can tag along with you, be your friend when you need it, your confessor when you’ve done wrong, your savior when you begin to fear hell. Other than that, you are good on your own. It reminds me of the bumper sticker that said, “God is my Co-Pilot.” Really? Do I want to confess that Jesus is my Lord, my Savior and my Master, only to confine Him to the co-pilot’s seat so that He can assist me in times of difficulty or take over when I can no longer handle it?
In Luke 9:57-62 we have a scene where Jesus and His disciples are walking through Samaria from Galilee, on their way to Jerusalem. As He is walking and talking, someone approached Him and said he would follow Him wherever he goes. Jesus said that the “wherever” will include places that won’t have a five-star bed. We don’t hear anything more from this man. Next, Jesus invites someone to follow him and the man says okay, but says there are conditions first. We don’t hear anything again from him, either. Another person comes up and says he wants to follow Jesus but not just yet. Jesus says, in effect, “It’s now or never. There isn’t a more convenient time.” Three conversations; three dropouts.
As Eugene Peterson writes in Tell It Slant, “We get the message; following Jesus doesn’t take place on our terms. We follow Jesus on his terms.” Or, as I like to tell my congregation, “When you ask Jesus to be your Lord and Savior it means you are buying the whole pie. You can’t have a piece of the pie or most of the pie. It is an all or nothing proposition.”
I don’t invite Jesus into my life: I accept what He has already done for me on Calvary and rejoice that He has invited me to participate in His life, which is why He said “I came to give life with joy and abundance” (John 10:10 Voice). Before Jesus revealed Himself to me I didn’t really have a life to invite Him into. I only have a life because I have chosen to follow Jesus, not because I’ve allowed Jesus to tag along in mine.
When I look at some people’s relationship with the Lord I want to ask, “Who’s following who?” Are you truly following the ways of Jesus, or have you just tacked Jesus on to your life like you do His name at the end of your prayers, so you can consider yourself saved and a disciple and insure life goes your way? What we often fail to understand is this road through Samaria and onto Jerusalem led Jesus to a crucifixion at the hands of the people He chose to die for.
“Lord, please be quick to remind me anytime I start to make You an add-on in my life. Don’t let me expect You to walk behind me and approve of my comfort-filled direction, but to follow you wherever You lead, even if it is uncomfortable and leads to my own Jerusalem. Amen.”