Two simple words carry the weight of eternity in them. “Follow Me.” They can open the door to salvation and change the course of a life. It is an opportunity that Jesus offers to every person.
In Matthew 9:9, we read, “As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me. So he arose and followed Him.”
I find it interesting that Jesus used one action word and one object word. In other words, Jesus challenged Matthew to take action, in pursuit of Himself.
The dictionary defines the word follow as: to engage in as a calling or way of life; pursue.
What does following Jesus look like? We see a deeper description in Matthew 16:24. “Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”
That’s a pretty tall order for anyone. To deny oneself, we must say no! No to our flesh, no to the devil. No to this world. Turning our back to the world and our flesh, contrary to most people around us, takes a new and more beneficial focus. When Jesus says, “follow Me,” He doesn’t expect you to reject one thing, without embracing something better—far better.
[Reminder: To watch "Mother's Dying Request" a video Dale made for his mother's memorial, see image below]
I remember growing up as a pastor’s kid. When I mentioned that I attended a particular church, other kids would ask me, “What do you believe?” Now, I laugh at how silly my answer sounded. But as a child, I only knew what I had heard. My answer was pretty unattractive. I confidently recited: “We don’t believe in drinking, smoking, dancing or going to shows.”
Well, that sounds like a lot to give up if there is nothing better offered in return. When Jesus told His followers to deny their own carnal wants, in order to pick up their cross and follow Him, He was letting them know that living a life for self, for the things of this world, are completely incompatible with the spiritual, eternal life He offered. Jesus offers us something of far greater value–even in this life–than the flesh or this world offer. But Jesus made it clear that something had to be sacrificed in order to gain something more eternal and precious.
“For whoever wishes to save his life [in this world] will [eventually] lose it [through death], but whoever loses his life [in this world] for My sake will find it [that is, life with Me for all eternity]. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world [wealth, fame, success], but forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” Matthew 16:25-26 AMP.
Remembering that the body is temporary, and our spirit and soul are eternal, is ‘key’ to seeing the value of this offer. Since we are a spirit (eternal), with a soul (eternal), living (temporarily) in a body (temporal), to give up eternal life for temporary is foolish.
I’ve seen too many people take a passive role in their Christian life. They pray for salvation and then have the perception they can coast the rest of the way. It’s not the end when we ask Jesus into our life… that’s just the beginning. And in these difficult last days, if we do not pursue Christ, we will be very vulnerable to being suckered into deadly deception.
The disciple, Matthew, started out as a professional tax collector. He was a thief who skimmed off money from the taxes that citizens paid. Just like all tax collectors, he was considered unsavory, not to be included in the social circle of “good” people. He needed more than to simply trail after someone who said, “follow me.” Jesus intended for Matthew to pursue Him and the new, revolutionary lifestyle that He taught..
Matthew did change, as he followed Jesus. In three short years of “following,” Matthew transformed from being a thieving tax collector, to believing in something so completely transforming, that he became willing to die as a martyr by being staked and speared to the ground… killed for questioning the morals of the king.
It is fair to say that Matthew, as well as the other disciples who followed Jesus, let go of the rewards of this world and exchanged them for the rewards of Heaven. Are you being transformed as you “follow Jesus?”
Jesus was our example, as He struggled in the Garden of Gethsemane, just prior to His crucifixion. He said to God, the Father, “Not My will, but Yours, be done” (Luke 22:42). Even though He knew God’s will, in His situation, meant His physical torture and death.
Someone has defined the cross as the place where God’s will and ours collide. It is indeed a place of death and spiritual resurrection… if we allow our flesh and love for the world to be crucified. Death to the flesh, but life to the Spirit.
Paul tells us, “our old man was crucified with Him [Jesus]” when we were born-again (Romans 6:6). When we are born-again, complete deliverance from the old man is accomplished… if we accept the reality of the death of Jesus in our place. To benefit from that sacrifice, we must know it is true and believe it. Only then can we walk in the reality of it.
Romans 12:2 tells us one of the ways we transform: “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
What a powerful offer. Following Jesus, means that we are transforming into the likeness of His image. Following Jesus requires: taking action which brings change and transformation. These changes in us are preparing us for victory here on earth, and ultimately for the glory of Heaven.
“And we all, with unveiled face, continually seeing as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are progressively being transformed into His image from [one degree of] glory to [even more] glory, which comes from the Lord, [who is] the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:18 AMP.
With God, all things are possible!
Dale and Paula Black
In Memory of Joyce Black – By clicking the following image, you can share in watching the short video Dale posted for his mother’s recent Memorial. Joyce Black passed away at age 94. Praise the Lord, she did not die of illness or injury, but it was simply her time to “Go home.” she is now safely in Heaven with her Savior, Jesus, and so many loved ones.
Praise the Lord for the “hope of glory” which every follower of Jesus has waiting forhttps://youtu.be/wowk-Q6jTfs them!
HEAVEN PROJECT: Every person is precious to God and that also means YOU. Let’s join together to reach more. Please prayerfully give today to help us reach more souls for God’s kingdom. Thank you!
Standing on the corners of our city, we remind people that there is only ONE way to heaven–Jesus. The honks and waves are numerous and encouraging.
Following the outreach on the streets of Coeur d’Alene, there is a time of “Questions and Answers” at a local Coffee Shop Bible Study to help new believers and Christians grow in a deeper understanding of who God is and how He works in our lives. God is blessing and multiplying..
Not sure you’re going to HEAVEN?
Then click on the following video link:
“Jesus said, You Must Be Born Again.”
PRE-ORDER YOUR COPY NOW of “Visiting Heaven: Heavenly Keys to Living a Life Without Limitations” by Capt. Dale Black, on Amazon.com.
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“Your book Dale was in Poland love it and I gave it to American Pastor. Hanka – Poland
“Dale, it’s good to hear God’s reality these days. I’m a retired pastor with over 4 decades of ministry and it caught my attention your reference to Mr. Joel Green, being 77 yrs. old, because that’s how old I am. See brother Dale, your story can be substantiated with God’s Word. That’s what the His Word tells us to do in order to avoid being deceived. Keep up the good work our Lord has assigned you to do, you’ll reap abundant fruits and at the end great rewards from Jesus. I’ll surely keep you and yours in my prayers. ” William
“Thank God for sending a true prophet to help guide us and keep us focused on Him and His Truth in these perplexing and troubled times! Jesus bless and keep you and yours now, and until He appears.” – Jane
“Thank you, Dale, for sharing what God has showed you. It’s so easy to see The Holy Spirit “speaking” through you when you write these messages and make your videos. May God bless you and your team in abundance. I look forward to meet you all in Heaven.” Elisabeth
Thankyou for the devotionals.
Also the lovely message from your mum.
May God bless your family in the work that you are doing for spreading God’s love and much more