Each summer, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) hosts interns from across the country and around the world. The following is a guest post from Matt, a 22-year-old intern at the Billy Graham Library.
Many people are looking for something to follow.
Some follow the latest trends of the crowd. Others follow their own personal desires. Amidst the cry of these earthly voices, comes the call of a Heavenly Savior. Jesus gives an open invitation to follow Him: “If anyone would…” (Matthew 16:24). The invitation is inclusive to all. Jesus does not exclude anyone from following Him, but, He does make the call to discipleship exclusive.
He says you will have to “come after Me…” This means that there is no other option. Only Jesus.
For those who have trusted Christ, the next step is to follow Him in obedience. Billy Graham once said, “Let us always remember that Christ calls men and women not only to trust Him as Savior, but also to follow Him as Lord.”
Are you leading yourself? Or are you following Him? Take time to consider these aspects of following Jesus.
1. Self-Denial – “Let him deny himself…”
Following Jesus always involves the diminishing of one’s self. The words of John the Baptist should echo in the heart of every Christian: “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). If you are to follow Jesus then you must first make a commitment, a choice to say ‘yes’ to Him and ‘no’ to self.
2. Sacrificial Death – “take up his cross…”
Jesus teaches that you will have to go beyond simply denying yourself. Almost every religion has some form of self-denial. Jesus teaches about complete sacrifice. You must be willing to go to the end for His sake. Of course, He modeled this in His own life, as He went to the cross for each one of us. You must give up what you thought your life could be and fully surrender to His call. If you are to follow Him, it must be completely.
3. Steadfast Devotion – “and follow me.”
The act of following someone implies that you are walking step-in-step behind them. For the disciples, they had the chance to follow Jesus as He continued His earthly ministry. For us today, we have the chance to follow Him by obeying His Word. Jesus says, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him” (John 14:23). If you are to follow Jesus, it must be continual.
This post was originally published by the Billy Graham Library.