Anyone with children under the age of ten knows that Frozen II is out in the theatres. And that loveable snowman character, Olaf, is back! And as you might imagine, all the toy makers have capitalized on the popularity of the various characters. Olaf is a favorite.
And the toy makers have added some features to this “stuffed toy” so that Olaf can quite literally follow your children around the house. The manufacturers state, “This stuffed creature has his own snowflake controller, and kids can use said controller to project a blue snowflake image that will activate Olaf and make him follow the light.”
Well, that is one way to get people to follow you. But I think Jesus had a much more radical thought in mind. On some twenty occasions, Jesus confronted men and women with those two words, and He did indeed expect that they would drop everything and pursue Him.
He promised to make them fishers of men if they followed (Matthew 3:19). He assured them that His sheep would know His voice and be able to follow (John 1:43). And, He spoke of the high cost of flowing. He told them to take up their cross (Matthew 16:24). I think He was presenting DEATH as the result of following Him.
That DEATH might take the form of death to selfish ambitions, or death to a social group, or death to a set of habits or death to the flesh in general. But however it is understood, it was a juncture. It represented a fork in the road. It was a choice encumbered with consequences. Following Jesus meant something.
I am afraid that often in our culture following Jesus is just another social or personal dynamic. Some speak of following Christ almost as if it was a matter of brand identification. We associate with that crowd, “wear” those colors, speak that vocabulary and enjoy those “habits.”
But in the context of the message we heard this past Sunday, I think that following the way of Christ has greater meaning for our Coast Hills family. It represents those “forks in the road” and afford us all a chance to declare our allegiance–not to the church but to the Lord of the church.
In order to be a complete reflection of Jesus, we each have to think hard about the Lord’s teaching (the doctrines of the Christian faith). We need to be willing to emulate His conduct. Another version of the scriptures translates that term “manner of life.” In other words, we have to be ready to do life HIS way. His way requires patience, faith, love, steadfastness and even some suffering.
That brings us back to the truth that following hard after Jesus will result in some DEATH. Maybe I might reword our Challenge to Change just a bit:
Read II Timothy 3:10 and make a list of the areas of life in which you (and I) must be willing to let go (or let die) in order to follow the way of Jesus.
It might be a tough list to write…but Glorifying God Together definitely requires that we “take up our cross” and follow Him!
Sherry Worel is a Bible teacher at heart and lives a life of ministry. She’s been involved at Coast Hills teaching Women’s LIFE, Bible studies, online courses, devotionals, participating in Upstream conversations, and much more. Having a love for education, Sherry has over 50 years of teaching experience with schools, churches, and mission agencies. As well as earning her Master’s at Talbot Seminary, she rounded out her education with 35 years as Head of School at Stoneybrooke Christian School. Sherry is happiest with a book or fishing pole in hand.