Following Jesus

I am reading a book by Dallas Willard called “The Great Omission” and it is causing me to search my own heart. See, I have been content to be a believer and neglected to follow, leaving everything behind. In Christ’s time, he called others to leave their occupations and families to travel with him and learn from him. This was not uncommon for a rabbi (teacher) to call disciples to leave behind their former lives for the privilege of learning. In our time, we are not in the same position since Christ is not physically walking the cities teaching. However, we are not called to a lesser sacrifice. We must follow Him with regard for nothing else but becoming like him. That does not mean we should not care for our health or our families. On the contrary, when we are chasing him we are more acutely aware of our need to care for our bodies and love our families.

I have somehow bought into the lie that it is good enough to believe in Christ, to accept his free gift of salvation, and then go about life as usual. Someone may object: “But you know Scripture, you are a seminary student and a pastor. Plus, you are a man of morals.” You must know that all of these things come easy to me. I know Scripture because it was taught to me as a child. I have studied in seminary because I love to learn and I am a pastor. The people I find in my close circles value morals. My father is a pastor. This is the life I know. The same can not be said for many.

For most, the life you see on the external of my persona is very difficult. However, being a radical follower of Christ is equally difficult for all. It requires true desire and sacrifice. Believing in Jesus and trusting him to forgive me is one thing. But isn’t it impossible to trust Christ for salvation, but to neglect trusting him with my entire life and being?

I trusted Christ as my savior when I was very young. I am just now learning to trust him as my rabbi.

Advertisements

~ by Joshua Long on July 30, 2009.

13 Responses to “Following Jesus”

  1. Good stuff Josh – thanks for the reminder. Hope you and your wife are doing well. You are missed, but in the right spot.

  2. Thanks for sharing. I enjoy your insight and i think its awesome that you posts these things, sometimes we forget that even pastors have difficulties. Ups and downs just like us. And to know that we have our own gifts. They are different but they all come from the same God. Thanks again for sharing.

  3. See, I have been content to be a believer and neglected to follow, leaving everything behind. In Christ’s time, he called others to leave their occupations and families to travel with him and learn from him. This was not uncommon for a rabbi (teacher) to call disciples to leave behind their former lives for the privilege of learning. In our time, we are not in the same position since Christ is not physically walking the cities teaching.

    You say that you aren’t under the same obligation to leave everything and “follow me,” but indeed you are. It’s only conjecture to suggest that merely because you aren’t physically walking with Him that you aren’t called to abandon everything and follow him. He didn’t, at the time, make any clauses, to suggest there were exceptions to his command. Christ didn’t say, leave your families and follow me, or take not care for the ‘morrow, unless you live in another generation and can’t walk physically with me. No. He said go and follow me, unconditionally, give no thought for the ‘morrow and follow. Juxtaposing that onto modern life and then saying, “Well, he didn’t mean precisely the exact same thing for me” is sidestepping matters. He couldn’t really mean that we should do follow the same command? Yes, he really did. No Christian that I’ve known, including myself when I believed, is really willing to follow this command to its bitter end. Why? Because it’s an unethical command to leave everyone you love and care about for Christ, giving no thought to thrift or the future or anything, and meanwhile, it doesn’t make a lick of sense.

  4. You quote> “his was not uncommon for a rabbi (teacher) to call disciples to leave behind their former lives for the privilege of learning.”

    (le-havdil) To you whom want to follow the first century historical man Ribi Yehoshua from Nazareth (the Mashiakh; the Messiah): A logical analysis of the historical documents and archaeology shows what he taught and how to follow him.

    Learn more here in the extensive and eye-opening research at: http://www.netzarim.co.il

    Anders Branderud
    Geir Tzedeq, Netzarim

  5. Jeremy,

    Thanks for your response. To be clear, I DO believe that we are called to abandon everything to follow him. I am also willing to follow him to the bitter end (or sweet end depending on your perspective). It hurts me that you could read this post and take from it that I do not believe I must abandon my life to follow him. That is the entire purpose of this post. In fact, I said, “we are not called to a lesser sacrifice. We must follow Him with regard for nothing else but becoming like him.” It also hurts me to hear that you have chosen not to follow. We all follow something wholeheartedly. What are you following Jeremy? Your self? Pleasure?

  6. Josh, thank you for sharing your heart. We all need this reminder. I pray that I can become like Him daily and follow Him in everything. With a husband like you, it makes it a little easier. Thanks!!! Love you!

  7. Anders,

    Thanks for taking note of my post. After reviewing the site you provided, I want to ask you for some clarity.

    Do you believe and teach the following?

    * Jesus in not divine.

    * Jews who are Christians are outside of the community of God.

    * Christians are not followers of Yeshua but rather followers of a religion created by Roman authorities in roughly 150 CE.

    * In order to have a relationship with God, one must convert to Orthodox Judaism.

    If this is true, then we are in disagreement. Scripture is clear that Jesus is God and we have a glorious opportunity to follow him. We cannot have righteousness outside of Christ. Christ + anything = nothing at all. Christianity as a religion has taken some wrong turns over the last 2000 years to be sure. Christianity as “following Christ” has always been the straight and narrow path however. I’d like to have a deeper conversation with you about all of these things.

  8. Great post here Josh.
    Thanks for the reminder and your openness and honesty.
    In the dust of your rabbi

  9. Josh,
    I understand your willingness to follow Him, but have you already left your family and friends and possessions, given them to the poor? It’s already been commanded.

    I follow knowledge. It’s specious to reduce nonbelievers to only pleasure-seekers or selfish people and doesn’t at all help your case. My road had been long and hard, and it included no small amount of prayer and reading on my part, and apparently, no effort from God.

    You can read my story here if you like. Thanks for your reply.

  10. Hi Jeremy,

    I certainly did not mean to reduce your position or anyone else’s to naricissism or epicurianism. I really was interested in what you follow. Thanks for sharing so openly in your blog.

    You asked if I had sold all of my possessions and given them to the poor as is commanded. Firstly, I must be honest: no I have not. I have given a lot of thought to the idea however and considered living under a vow of poverty. Secondly, we must know that the commandment to sell everything and give the money to the poor was not a general commandment but rather something asked of the rich young ruler who valued his possessions above his own soul.

    I do want to thank you for asking that question though because it does prod me to ask myself this: “What do I value more than God and how do I go about giving that thing away?”

    After reading your blog, I can’t begin to speak to your pain in dealing with emphysema and other ailments. I do know that others, like Nick Vujicic, who was born without arms or legs, whose faith inspires me. Nick says that he prayed for a miracle and still does, but in the meantime he’s found that he can be that miracle for someone else. To see his video, click here:

  11. Josh,
    That’s an inspirational story indeed. Perhaps in my original “testimony” I implied too much when I confessed and asked for a healing and did not receive any. I asked for God for knowledge of Him, his truths, some acknowledgment that he was actually there. It didn’t have to be an audible word — though this should have been easy enough for him — but just some thought or compulsion that couldn’t have been generated by my own brain. Folks keep suggesting that I really don’t believe because I’m angry or was impatient or the like. It probably seemed that way because I shared my health issues, etc, but that’s not the reason at all.

    I get the sense that this fellow would be strong and make the best of it regardless of whether there was a god for him to believe in. I thought it was interesting that the person who made the video used an Australian band’s “In Christ Alone” cover (a Newsboys song I’ve played many times) to accompany the story. hehe

    Jeremy

  12. I didn’t even notice. That is funny. He’s obviously from Australia. Nice to meet you Jeremy. I’ll be following your blog now.

  13. Yeah nice to meet you as well. I’ll add you to my blogroll.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: