When It’s Hard to Follow Christ! 

Have you ever felt like giving up? Finding that it is difficult to keep a commitment? Struggling in your faith? Not understanding current events in such a way that it causes you to lose hope and just want to quit?   Well, for many of the hearers who heard Jesus speak and teach as well as walk on water and reveal that He is the Bread of Life (John 6), they came face to face with that gnawing feeling…walk away from Jesus or stay and follow Him!   In John 6:66, it reads, “As a result of this, many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore.”  Jesus continues in verse 67, “So Jesus said to the twelve, ‘You do not want to go away also, do you?’” 

There is the heart to heart question from the Savior,… you don’t want to leave me do you?  It is one thing to deny Christ at the very beginning of one’s encounter with the Son of God, yet it is a whole other matter to deny Christ once you have made a commitment to follow Him!  Have you known anyone like that?  Have you been tempted to be that someone?  Don’t walk away from Jesus… the rich young ruler did (Matthew 19:16-26)!  Even the apostle Paul felt this abandonment when Demas left him (2 Timothy 4:10)!  And then there was Peter who denied Christ and Judas who betrayed him.  Devastation, despair and death even were the results of walking away from Jesus. 

What causes one to leave Christ? 

In the case of the rich young ruler, it was his love for material wealth and possessions that kept him from following Jesus.  For Demas, Paul states, “because he loves this world” (2 Tim. 6:10)! 

John wrote in 1 John, 

“15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world” (1 John 2:15-16, NIV). 

One’s love for Christ is in direct contrast to the love of the world!  Am I seeking to please myself? Or am I seeking to please the Savior?  Even when life gets hard, that is when we need to stay true to our commitment to follow Christ, no matter the outcome or the cost. 

How can I stay true to Jesus? 

How can I stay faithful in following Jesus? We may know the “Sunday school” answers – by going to church, by reading our Bible, by praying… and there is truth in these answers but it begins with a surrendered heart.  David cried out to the Lord for an undivided heart (Psalm 86:11) for the purpose of “fearing” God’s name!  Developing reverence, respect, trust, honor, adoration, courage and obedience to the Lord begins with an undivided heart. 

Secondly, do I love what Jesus loves?  Do the values of Jesus resonate and cause me to love as He loves?  Care as He cares? Hate what He hates?  Serve as He served?  This passion for the things of God does not happen overnight.  God develops His character in the heart and life of every follower over time.  It takes time to cultivate the fruit of the Holy Spirit in one’s life.  It takes a heart that has been cleansed and forgiven from sin, so that the “seed” of the Holy Spirit may cultivate “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).  What is the condition of the “soil” of your heart?  Is it ready to be cultivated by the Holy Spirit to produce life transforming fruit?  Are you hanging on some “weeds” –love of things of this world- more than what Jesus loves?  When my heart is undivided, then when life is hard and tough, I am still able to make the right choice to follow Jesus!  Just like Peter who said, “where else can we go… you (Jesus) have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68).  Put your hope and trust in the Lord – He will see you through the hard times.  He is worth following no matter the cost. 



Leave a comment