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  • Micah Lang

3 obstacles to going all in with Jesus

Man contemplating his life at the end of a dock

Following Jesus will cost you everything

What would you lose everything for? Sometimes, life calls us to take a big risk or make a big sacrifice. And we only take those chances when we believe it’s worth it. So what would you do if I told you that to follow Jesus you needed to sell all your stuff, quit your job, leave your family, give up your dreams, and go through a lot of pain and hardship? Would you take the risk?

In Luke 9, Jesus affirms his identity as the “Christ of God” and then explains that he is the exalted Son of Man that will walk through suffering and death into the glory of God to save his people. And then right after, he looks at his disciples and says this:

“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23

To follow Jesus means losing everything. We lay down our dreams and desires, we embrace a life of suffering and death, and then commit to follow Jesus forever, no matter the cost. Is he worth it?

3 obstacles Jesus addresses

Jesus knows that this kind of commitment and sacrifice is radical. He knows what he is asking of those who want him. And so he addresses three obstacles that might make us not want to sign up for this.

1. Control

We want to be in control of our lives.

For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. —Luke 9:24

Everything in us wants to be in control of our lives. It makes us feel safe and secure. In our finances, relationships, careers, and callings… we want to be in control. And Jesus calls us to relinquish control to him, which is scary. It’s hard to trust someone else with our lives. 

2. Comfort

We want to live a comfortable life.

For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself —Luke 9:25

We don’t want to lose all the stuff we have, all the accomplishments we’ve accrued. We want to acquire things that make us comfortable and happy. We want to have influence and significance. Following Jesus means embracing suffering and discomfort for his name. Who would want that?

3. Honor

We want to be liked by people.

For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. —Luke 9:26

We are people-pleasers. We don’t want people to think badly of us. We want the praise and honor of people. When people make fun of Jesus, we will be tempted to feel embarrassed of him. Following Jesus may mean losing our reputation and the approval of others.

Jesus’ answer: Think about eternity

With all three obstacles, Jesus’ answer is to think about what is going to happen after this life is over. For control, Jesus says that if we try to control our life, we will lose it on that final day when we stand before God. For comfort, Jesus says we may gain all the comforts and stuff of the whole world and still lose our very soul. What can we take with us into the grave? For honor, Jesus says that if we try to be liked by people and are ashamed of him, we will forever regret that decision when he comes into his kingdom. 

In essence Jesus is saying, “Stop living for this life. How you live over the next 50 years will determine how you spend the next 50 Trillion years.” What really will matter from this life millions of years after we are gone? Unless we think about eternity, we will be consumed with our life in this world and we will regret all we refused to lay on the altar for Jesus. 

Is Jesus really worth losing everything for?

Darlene Diebler Rose followed the call of Jesus to be a frontier missionary with her husband in New Guinea. Then, World War II broke out and the Japanese took control of the country, killed her husband, and kept in a prison camp, brutally abusing her. After years of this abuse, she miraculously got out and returned to America, only to recover, remarry, and return to New Guinea. She spent the next 40 years evangelizing, teaching, delivering babies, facing down headhunters, and loving those people to Jesus. Whenever she told her story and the inhuman abuses she endured, she would always say, “I would do it all again for my Savior.” You may wonder, “Is it really worth it to lose everything to follow Jesus?” And Darlene would answer, “Yes! A thousand times, yes!”

This world and this life are so fleeting. The pleasures of this world pale in comparison with the joy of a God who came to walk through death into glory and bring us with him. God doesn’t need us! But he loves us anyway. And he offers us the fullness of joy forever in his presence. You may lose control. You may lose comfort. You may lose the praise of people. You may lose your life. But you get God. You get the God who is the fountain of all life and joy and beauty. You will not regret losing your life. You will not regret one piece of who you are that you laid on the altar. Jesus is completely worth it. If we doubt that, we need some eternal perspective.

The enjoyment of God is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied. To go to heaven, fully to enjoy God, is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here. These are but shadows; but God is the substance. These are but scattered beams; but God is the sun. These are but streams; but God is the ocean. Jonathan Edwards

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