ODJ: every step

December 19, 2015 

READ: Matthew 4:18-21 

They left their nets at once and followed him (v.20).

In February 2015, a terrorist group in the Middle East released a video showing the gruesome beheadings of 21 Coptic Christians (all men) on a beach in Libya. It is reported that prior to losing their lives, many were mouthing the name of Jesus, calling out to Him. It’s also reported that none of them denied their faith in Jesus. When our Christian brothers left their homes and families in Egypt to find work in Libya, they had no idea that they would become martyrs who stained the sea red with their blood.

Most of us will not likely die a martyr’s death, but we’re called to give up our agendas in order to follow Jesus’ way for our lives—submitting to His perfect will. Jesus calls each of us to take up our cross and follow Him (Matthew 16:24). We’re to follow Him at once—just as Simon and Andrew left their nets, livelihood, and family to follow the Lord (4:20). For them to follow Jesus meant full surrender and submission to Him and His plans.

I desire to obey Jesus, to follow Him wherever He leads me. But I’ve learned that when it comes down to it and following Jesus gets difficult, I want to be the one to decide when, where, and how to follow Him. I want to be the master instead of the servant. I want to serve Jesus and others when it’s convenient for me. Yet, like our brothers who lost their lives, I’m called to follow Jesus even when it’s inconvenient.

When we find following Jesus difficult, it’s important to remind ourselves that God is good and that Jesus’ way is best even when it’s not what we naturally might choose. Jesus says, “Come, follow me” (v.19). The way may not be easy or convenient, but He will be with us every step.

—Marlena Graves

365-day-plan: James 1:2-27

Read and reflect on Genesis 12:1-9. What did Abraham leave in order to follow God? Can you imagine how much it cost him, at least initially? 
When do you find it most inconvenient to follow Jesus? How are you doing in your full surrender and submission to Him and His ways?