Wondering whether I’ll ever really follow Jesus

On the menu tonight we have some honest musings from a seeking heart.

Lately I’m being brought back to face the question of whether I will truly follow the Lord Jesus with my whole life. My discipleship is so fragmented, at least it seems to me, that you might not even call me a disciple if you were to know me.

Traditionally we have this view of the gospels that says Jesus was going along in life, doing his thing, then when he called the twelve to himself they immediately forsook all and followed him. Well, yes and no. I’m thinking mainly of Peter in this instance, but there is evidence from the story that not only Peter but all the disciples were “prone to wander” from time to time. At least once in Peter’s case it seems he re-considered his committment to follow the Rabbi and went back to his nets; yet the Lord pursued him. Upon seeing his net break after letting it down for one more catch at Jesus’ insistence, Peter was beside himself with both a desire to follow this incredible man and the haunting feeling that he most certainly did not have what it would take.

Then of course there was the night of Jesus’ betrayal when Peter followed “from a distance” and denied even knowing the Lord when put on a trial of his own by a servant girl. Brokenhearted and disillusioned, Peter saw no recourse after his master’s death but to go back to fishing. As the story goes, the resurrected Lord found him again on the shores of Galilee, once more with the call to follow him.

So that makes not once, not twice, but three times when Peter balked at the notion of following Jesus “all the way.” The calling and recalling of Jesus is a prominent theme in Peter’s life.

Did I say Peter’s life? I meant my own, actually. It’s like I hear this inaudible voice pounding in my head, echoing through the chambers of my heart-challenging me, plauging me, haunting me, constantly.

Follow me.”

“I tried Lord. I couldn’t do it.”

Follow me.”

“I’m afraid. I don’t have what it takes.”

Follow me.”

“It’ll cost too much. I know it will.”

Follow. Me.”

I hate it, honestly. There are times I can’t stand it. But deep down I can’t deny it’s the one thing I want more than anything else in life: To know God through Christ… to follow in the way of Jesus.

Will I, though, really? To tell you the truth, I’ve been a Christian for twelve years now and that question still remains largely unanswered.

If you would like to help me in this venture then may I be so bold as to ask that you do not pray for me. Don’t encourage me, either. Don’t pat me on the head and tell me it’s ok because God loves me. The best thing you can do for me is to follow Jesus yourself. Show me that it is possible. Show me there’s a better way.

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About Joshua

Writer, husband, father, friend. View all posts by Joshua

11 responses to “Wondering whether I’ll ever really follow Jesus

  • Shane

    My friend I have never seen a human being with more love in his heart than you. You do not seem to judge anyone who comes to you be it for advice or even to talk. That love you share with Christ. I understand the doubts but I am sure if you look down you will see that not only are there foot prints beside yours but that Christ is at home in your heart. Just my two cents

  • becomingnae

    When you doubt, just look at your son. Look good and hard.

    And then relax. God didn’t love Peter any less than a disciple who “strayed less”; His love is entirely impartial. Your hesitancy to give Him your whole heart, 100% of the time, not only isn’t a shocker to Him, it is necessary if you’re going to be grow deeper in humility. If you never questioned, your pride would stink so bad nobody would want to be near you.

    It’s hard, it’s always torturous to question loyalty or how much of Christ we really want (or don’t), but your faith really isn’t your faith. It’s the faith OF Christ and it’s been given to you.

    Take some time to only give Him 50%, or even 2%. Then see where you’re at.

    I bet within a months time you’ll be back to be giving Him 99%.

    Jesus is the only one among us who gave 100%. Ever.

    • Josh

      Thanks, Becoming. For me it’s not a matter of striving after some place before God or doubting His love for me as His son. In all honesty these are things I haven’t done in quite some time. But as I hoped to convey with this post, what I’m concerned with lately is my relation to Him as a disciple. No condemnation here. Only a strong desire for a deeper reality of Christ in my life.

      • becomingnae

        Ah, so my initial iPhone comment DID post…. Odd. Good to know. Sorry for the snarky version, then.

        Here i was thinking you were ready to throw in the towel, and that had me all fired up. If all you want is a deeper reality of Christ in your life, you want to give more, go further, know Him more fully — you’re right where you should be. You asked and He’ll give.

        It just seems to me like you’re looking for some kind of assurance that you’ll never regress in your intimacy with Him, and I wonder if that’s possible to ever know. You don’t want to be a Peter, necessarily, but that sounds like you’re wanting to pass him by to place a little higher in the great race of our faith.

        I think no matter how many years we are Christians or how much we’ve proven the steadfastness to be His disciple, it’s still no measurement of our commitment or strength of our resolve.

        I just wanted to encourage you to rest. You want a deeper reality of Christ ? You got it. That’s a cry of the heart He loves to answer, and He will, and you’ll obey when He calls. He knocks, you open the door, He comes inside, you sup with Him. I wish I could get rid of your uncertainty.

      • Josh

        No worries, Becoming. My rest is undisturbed and the inner citadel is at peace. 🙂 I do appreciate your encouragment, though. It means a lot that you would take the time to spell out all the things you’ve shared here.

  • Hannah

    Awesome, Josh. We hear the cry of your heart. We don’t know you personally, but for what it’s worth, we’re trying.

  • Hannah

    You probably receive Frank Viola’s Beyond Evangelical blog too, but just in case you don’t… Even while I was commenting in your blog about trying to live for Jesus I knew I had it all wrong, but didn’t quite know how, until I read Frank’s blog for today. Hope it blesses you too.

  • kaazoom

    Hi Josh.

    I have been a Christian for 34 years and I still struggle with this issue. Sometimes in my walk with Jesus I have been close to him; at other times it has been as if I have forgotten about him. There have been more failures on my part than there have been successes. If my salvation is based on how closely I’ve followed him I am lost. I’m often weak, often cowardly, many times I’ve listened to what others have said and followed them rather than Him. There is no doubt in my mind that I do not deserve his love and acceptance. But even in those times when I have not followed him as closely as I should have, I’ve sensed his smiling face looking at me and the depths of his love drawing me.

    I would have given up on me years ago. In fact if I had had the same foreknowledge that Jesus has I would have left me well alone! I am a useless case; a lost cause. But in Jesus’ eyes I’m treasure he was willing to die for. I can’t explain why he loves me or why he pursues me when I’m running away from him but I know he does. How do I know? i can’t explain it to you, I just know.

    We so often think of repentance as being something we do when we first become Christians, but in reality repentance is a continuous act for those who follow him. We fail often and often have to turn again to follow him. I wish it wasn’t the case. I long to follow him unswervingly and with a passion for him as near equal to his passion for me as is possible. Every time I think I’ve finally cracked it something happens and off I go wandering from him again.

    Am I closer to him than I was when I first believed 34 years ago? To be honest with you I don’t know. But what I do know is that he has been faithful to me. When I’ve tried to run away he has still pursued me, when I’ve fallen he has caught me, and when I’ve been bruised and broken because of my own self will and stubbornness he has comforted and healed me.

    I still long to follow him with all my heart and never let him down. But perhaps if I had always done so I would never have experienced the height, depth and width of his unfailing love and mercy. Without doubt his love for me is amazing.

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