They All Want to be Like Jesus, They Don’t Want to Have to Die

No one ever said it would be easy. No one ever said it would be comfortable. And no one ever said it would be safe.

Following Jesus means following Him into battle. And following Jesus means following Him to the grave.

“As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;
    we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

Romans 8:36*

*Quoting Psalm 44:22

No one ever said it would be easy. No one ever said it would be comfortable. And no one ever said it would be safe. Anyone who told you the Christian life was any of those things was either lying or, at the very least, misinformed. Christianity is not a place a person goes to retire from a wild, chaotic world. Following Jesus means following Him into battle. And following Jesus means following Him to the grave.

“From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force.”

Matthew 11:12 (NASB)

The Cost of Following Jesus

So, you have decided to follow Jesus. That is great! But I have read the book and the elephant in the room is this: Jesus dies. The harsh reality is that you will too. (Spoiler Alert: He was resurrected, but you will not be- at least not on this earth). Sure, we will all die one day, there is no avoiding that, but I am actually not talking about physical death though, at least not yet. What I am saying is, if we are going to follow Christ, we must die to ourselves every day. Every single day we will have to make the decision to die to our own ambitions, our own pride, and our own selfishness. Once we have been redeemed by Christ, we no longer live for ourselves.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.

The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

2 Corinthians 5:17

Comfort, convenience, and even safety are no longer our highest priority when we become followers of Christ. These, and all other things, take a backseat to our new commitment to Jesus. Now that we have said “Yes” to Jesus, we have checked the box that we agree to the terms and conditions. Some of those conditions may not be sunny and smooth. It gets muddy in the trenches, but I would rather be in the trenches with Jesus than on the boardwalk without Him.

“Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.

For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?”

Matthew 16: 24-26

Quote Rich Mullins Never Forget 2

It is time to give up your addictions. It is time to give up your hardheartedness. It is time to leave your selfishness behind. Let go of your grudges. When you give all that stuff to God, it is dead to you. You can live a new life. One that is not concerned with the petty things of this world, but is focused solely on the eternal things of God. Cash in all that baggage for the eternal reward of a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Suit up and stand firm, because things could get messy. Being a Christian isn’t about being a body in a pew. It is about being a soldier in the battle between good and evil. Are you ready to fight?

Who Are You Imitating?

“We all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”

2 Corinthians 3:18

As Christians, we are supposed to be modeling our lives after Jesus Christ (hence the term CHRISTian). But what about when things get hard? Everybody wants to experience the power and the glory, but what about His suffering? Can you stick with Him even through persecution, hardship, and danger?

For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake,

Philippians 1:29

If you want to see how Jesus reacts to potentially dangerous situations, read  John 7. Jesus knows the Jewish leaders are looking for a way to kill Him (v1), yet He casually shows up at the Festival of Tabernacles anyway (v10).  He starts preaching at the festival, knowing full well that it is dangerous and may cost Him His life (v14). Everyone in the crowd attending the festival knows that the officials want to kill Jesus. It is a well known fact. People recognize Him and are surprised He is there speaking (v25). So, it’s not like Jesus thought He could just blend in and not get caught. He knew the risk and did it anyway because the message was more important than His safety. He trusted in God’s timing for when He was to be given over.

Do you ever knowingly walk into danger? Would you purposely walk into a place where you knew people were going to try to kill you? My guess would be you would take every measure to avoid that kind of situation! Jesus knew this was an extremely dangerous event to attend, but He also knew the importance of the message He needed to share. The mission overshadowed His concern for personal safety. Plus, He trusted in the Father’s timing. When deciding if you should speak up, do you stop to consider how others will react first? Or do you just step up to the plate and deliver? Knowing how crucial it is that people hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ, shouldn’t that be our number one priority, even at the risk of our safety or our pride?

 “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. “

Luke 12:4

Quote Needtobreathe We are so Alive 2

(John 11:25)

What About You?

I will leave you with some questions to consider:

  1. Has your faith ever cost you anything? What have you had to sacrifice in order to follow Jesus?
  2. What things need to die in your life in order for you to live in Christ?
  3. Is your physical safety more important to you than your faith?
  4. What do you think “to live is Christ and to die is gain” means (Philippians 1:21)? Do you agree with that statement?”

“…There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection.

Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment.

They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated—

the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.

These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised,

since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.”

Hebrews 11:35-40

Quote John Rogers Martyr

I think Jesus is asking us the same thing He asked the sons of Zebedee: “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?“. They too wanted to share in His glory without any of the sacrifice. (Matthew 20:20-23)

Are you really ready to be like Jesus? Would you lose your life in order to follow Him? Because there is a disturbing pattern I have noticed among church goers:

They all want to be like Jesus, but they don’t want to have to die.


*For further scripture reading on the topic of suffering for the sake of Christ, reference the suggestions below:

  • Hebrews 11:24-27 – Moses willingly abandoned a life of luxury in the house of Pharaoh. He chose to be mistreated with the people of God rather than enjoying the temporary satisfaction of sin. Moses was looking ahead to his eternal reward.
  • John 8:18-20 – Jesus spoke boldly, with no fear of consequences, because He trusted in His Father’s plan.
  • John 11:1-16 – When we are called to follow Jesus into unsafe territory, our response should be the same as Thomas’s when the disciples hear of the passing of their friend, Lazarus. “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” (v16)
  • John 12:23-26– “Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”
  • Revelation 2:10 – “…Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.”

*For similar articles on the topic of suffering for the sake of Christ, check out the following links:

“To Live is Christ” by Sidewalk Prophets

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