Every day we make thousands of decisions. Life is a constant exercise in decision making. Many believe the most important choices we make are: where we will live, who we will marry, what vocation we will pursue and how we will spend our leisure time. Certainly those are all significant aspects of living and greatly affect the content of life, yet, all pale in comparison to the ultimate decision we face – will we follow Jesus?
Oswald Chambers tells us, “In our Lord’s life, Jerusalem was the place where He reached the climax of His Father’s Will upon the Cross; and unless we go with Jesus there, we will have no companionship with Him. Nothing ever discouraged Our Lord on His way to Jerusalem. He never hurried through certain villages where He was persecuted, or lingered in others where He was blessed. Neither gratitude nor ingratitude turned Our Lord one hair’s breadth away from His purpose to go up to Jerusalem. The same things will happen to us on our way to our Jerusalem. There will be the works of God manifested through us, people will get blessed, and one or two will show gratitude and the rest will show ingratitude, but nothing must deflect us from going up to our Jerusalem.” (My Utmost for His Highest)
Some do choose to follow Him with determined commitment and conviction, and where He is, they are. Many are satisfied to engage in religious rituals and behaviors, choosing law over grace and avoiding a personal relationship with the Lord. Others give only a cursory glance at His open arms and embrace apathy instead. Most simply continue their vain pursuit of false gods, running after them on their trek away from Jerusalem to destruction.
Following Jesus all the way to Jerusalem is death to our self-centered life. Temporal things no longer dominate our time and attention. Christ and eternity and serving God and serving others become our center. We find true fulfillment in giving rather than taking. The world’s alluring promises are seen for what they truly are – deceitful empty lies! Nevertheless, there are times of great discouragement for the Christ follower. Those times when all seems hopeless, when we feel so alone on the narrow road up, when we wrestle with our flesh and its desires and lose. There are times when His way seems too hard, we do not understand and turning back looks to be our best option. But, even if all others choose to walk no more after Him, we must persevere and finish our journey to Jerusalem.
Where are you today? Are you willing to accept the loss of the things of this world for the gain of the Cross? Are you willing to follow Jesus – even to Jerusalem?