The cost of following Jesus
"My child, when you come to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for trials.
Be sincere of heart and steadfast, undisturbed in time of adversity.
Cling to him, forsake him not; thus will your future be great.
Accept whatever befalls you, in crushing misfortune be patient;
For in fire gold is tested, and worthy men in the crucible of humiliation.
Trust God and he will help you; make straight your ways and hope in him.
You who fear the LORD, wait for his mercy, turn not away lest you fall.
You who fear the LORD, trust him, and your reward will not be lost.
You who fear the LORD, hope for good things, for lasting joy and mercy.
Study the generations long past and understand; has anyone hoped in the LORD and been disappointed? Has anyone persevered in his fear and been forsaken? has anyone called upon him and been rebuffed?
Compassionate and merciful is the LORD; he forgives sins, he saves in time of trouble."
In the Scriptures when Jesus says, "Follow me," and says it in the context of going to Jerusalem and having just been rejected in Samaria for going to Jerusalem, he is clearly saying two things, not just one thing. He is saying: "Follow ME." And he is saying "FOLLOW me." He is saying, ‘There is me, and there is my mission. There is a person, and there is a path. There is a sweetness, and there is suffering. There is Jesus, and there is Jerusalem.
Jesus does not promise a bed of roses or even a bed of tulips and He warns against the danger of indecisive discipleship. "No one, after putting his hand to the plough and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." You can’t plough a straight furrow whilst looking back. You can’t serve Christ, that is, you can’t make Christ look great, if you are always second-guessing the value of following him. Looking back means longing back. It means that we are not really sure he is worth following, especially to Jerusalem. Divided hearts like that are not useful in displaying the worth of Christ. It is true, all of us pass through stages where we wonder if we have made the right decision. In times of loneliness we long for familiar faces and places. In times of physical, mental and spiritual suffering,we long for the pain to pass or at least for it to be numbed. In times where death seems to conquer, we long for life.