The basic demand of the Kingdom is a response of man’s will. Men must receive it. They must yield to it. God’s Kingdom does not ask us to find in ourselves the righteousness that it demands; God will give us the righteousness of his Kingdom. God’s Kingdom does not ask us to create the life that it requires; God’s Kingdom will give us that life. God’s Kingdom does not set up a standard and say, “When you achieve this standard of righteousness, you may enter the Kingdom.” God’s Kingdom makes one demand: Repent! Turn! Decide! Receive the Kingdom; for as you receive it, you receive its life, you receive its blessing, you receive the destiny reserved for those who embrace it. Ladd, George Eldon. Gospel of the Kingdom: Scriptural Studies in the Kingdom of God (p. 97). Eerdmans Publishing Co – A. Kindle Edition.
The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses [and escape] from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will. [2Ti 2:24-26 NASB]
Why do I follow Jesus?
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to them.” [Mat 5:3 NET]
I feel that God has allowed me, at times, to see a very important truth about myself. I do not have the competence, character, or compassion I should have as a human being. I am weak, poor, and fall short of what I should be.
There are many times that I lose sight of this insight. I can be filled with pride, self righteousness, and illusions of power. But then reality sets in and I no longer can blame someone or something else for my failures. I see that I am radically in need and cannot save myself.
I follow Jesus, because I need HIM!
Some people would say that the Lord Jesus is my crutch. Now it depends what reality is if one needs a crutch. If you have two strong healthy legs you don’t need a crutch but, if you have a broken leg then a crutch is critical.
I would say that the Lord Jesus is not my crutch but more my wheelchair. At those moments of facing who I am, I recognize that I can do nothing without HIM.
The Messiah Jesus explains it this way.
“I am the true vine and my Father is the gardener. He takes away every branch that does not bear fruit in me. He prunes every branch that bears fruit so that it will bear more fruit. You are clean already because of the word that I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it remains in the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me – and I in him – bears much fruit, because apart from me you can accomplish nothing.” [John 15:1-5 NET]
Most of the people who would belittle my following Jesus as a crutch would say this is because I cannot face reality, while I would say I need Jesus as my crutch because I do face reality. The reality that without a relationship with HIM I cannot produce anything of any real worth, value, competence, character, or compassion.
I have faced the reality by God’s grace that I need Jesus.
Therefore, I follow HIM.
“Jesus answered them, ‘Healthy people don’t need a doctor–sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.'” [Luke 5:31-32 NLT]
So if you think that you are competent, have good character, and are filled with compassion then you will see no real need of following Jesus. But if you know you are morally sick, weak, and without hope in yourself; then the opportunity to follow HIM become a lifeline of hope.
The converted Rabbi Saul says it this way:
“But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from [the] Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which [comes] from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. [Phl 3:7-11 NASB]
And in another place he wrote:
For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God. But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, ‘LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.'” [1Co 1:26-31 NASB]
So I follow Jesus because I need HIM to be my wisdom, righteousness, power to change, source of forgiveness and fellowship with God. I have come to the conviction that when I am in my right mind — without HIM I can do nothing.
I follow Jesus because I need Jesus.