Following Jesus is easy when life runs smoothly; our true commitment to Him is revealed during trials. Jesus assured us that trials will come to His followers (John 16:33). Discipleship demands sacrifice, and Jesus never hid that cost. 1
I have respect for runners, especially long-distance runners! Their endurance is only matched by their desire to do what so few people are willing to do. In doing a Google search about long-distance running I found out that it’s defined as anything longer than 1.9 miles. The runners I know pass this distance with ease. 20 miles and beyond! The point is that those who participate in this sort of activity actively think about the long-haul of the race. Running a short distance has it’s own set of challenges to think through but the length of a long-distance race are compounded. The runner has to think about his or her body at the 10 mile mark, 15 mile mark, etc. In order to run the race effectively, the runner has to have endurance in mind.
In our current sermon series we’ve been asking questions related to following Jesus. What is the cost of following Him? What does it mean to follow Him? What should I give up when I follow Him? What do I gain when following Him?
Much like the long-distance runners, followers of Jesus have to have endurance in mind because following Jesus is a lifelong pursuit and it’s not easy.
If you wonder if you are ready to take up your cross, consider these questions:
- Are you willing to follow Jesus if it means losing some of your closest friends?
- Are you willing to follow Jesus if it means alienation from your family?
- Are you willing to follow Jesus if it means the loss of your reputation?
- Are you willing to follow Jesus if it means losing your job?
- Are you willing to follow Jesus if it means losing your life? 2
Following Jesus has the potential to cost us everything. However, if we only focus on what we lose, we miss an accurate picture because what we GAIN far outweighs what it costs us.
Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised. 3
The “reward” that the author of Hebrews refers is the salvation brought on by Jesus (Hebrews 4:1, 8; 6:12, 17; 8:6). In this context, salvation, rest, reward or reign can all mean the same thing. To be a disciple of Jesus means we live in heavenly anticipation of the return of Jesus by allowing Him to reign over us for the rest of our lives. This is why we continue to ask the questions, “What did Jesus say, what did He do, and what does that mean for us?” Little Rock Church, follow Jesus for the long-haul! Run the race!
1 Got Questions Ministries. (2002–2013). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software. 2 Got Questions Ministries. (2002–2013). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software. 3 New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Heb 10:35–36). La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.