I am not very good at following Jesus. That is why I am an imperfect disciple. I hesitate and question, which means I am not living with courage and faith. It is frustrating because I know I am not maturing my faith, but it is comfortable since don't have face my fears. When I don’t live by faith, then I don’t have to do the hard things that push me outside of my comfort zone. I confess that I am afraid to truly follow Jesus.
Take a moment and consider what Erwin McManus wrote:
Just do whatever Jesus calls you to do the moment it is clear to you. Do not procrastinate; do not hesitate, do not deviate from whatever course of action He calls you to. But I want to warn you, the closer you walk with Christ, the greater the faith required. The more you trust Him, the more you’ll risk on His behalf. The more you love Him, the more you will love others. If you genuinely embrace His sacrifice, you will joyfully embrace a sacrificial life. Your expectations of Jesus will change as your intimacy with Him deepens. (The Barbarian Way, p. 53)
Spiritual formation requires faithfully following Jesus. Not only does faithfully following Jesus change our lives, but it is also the best way for us to honor God. We honor God through our obedience. It isn’t enough that we stop doing wrong; we must also seek to do what is right. This means we avoid doing things that will bring us shame. This was one of the motivations for the apostle Paul.
For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die. (Philippians 1:20; NLT)
Paul lived in a culture where honor was bound to fulfilling his responsibilities and fighting with courage. When Paul says that he has nothing to be ashamed of, he is not talking about doing something that might be embarrassing or making a simple mistake. What he meant is that he lived a life of courage (boldness) which, in turn, brought honor to his master, Christ Jesus.
It would have been shameful for Paul to have quit preaching the gospel because he feared prison and death. The court trials, the imprisonments, and the beatings were badges of honor that Paul wore with pride, because he bravely followed Jesus.
We don't live in an honor/shame culture. Yet, I believe it is essential for us to understand that if we are going to follow Jesus, we must seek to bring him honor. Our lives aren’t our own, they belong to Jesus. Our honor is tied to our obedience to him. We can live a life of perfect morality, but if we fail to live boldly then we will not bring the honor to Jesus that he deserves. No matter the obstacles or the risk, we must follow Jesus.
Grant us the strength, Father, to live honorably for Your Son, Jesus.