Follow Me

By Wally Fry from Truth in Palmyra

We often have a tendency to think we have things really bad. This is true in both the non believing life, as well as the life of the believer. The fact of the matter is, nobody bears the burden that we bear; ours is always the heaviest, right? If you don’t believe me, ask, I will gladly tell you! Complaining seems to be the natural state of man.

Sadly, complaining also seems to be the natural state of many believers, and to compound this issue we often complain and moan about our Christian Service! All we need to do when we find ourselves trapped in a spiral of complaint and self pity, however, is remain focused on what Jesus did for us without a single complaint.

Matthew 16:24-27

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 lifeg 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?For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done.

Luke 19:23-26

And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

Mark 8:34-38

And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “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 and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

I traveled down a lonely road and no one seemed to care. All of us travel down lonely roads when it seems that no one cares. Yet, if we are saved believers, we are never alone as Jesus is always with us. We often think our burdens are more than we can bear. Yet our heavenly Father has told us The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit and the I will never leave you or forsake you. The burden on my weary back had bowed me to despair.  We all do have burdens to bear, that is just life. But, really why do we even think we have to bear them? How much peace and joy do we forfeit simply because we do try to bear our own burdens? What, then, are we to do? Jesus told us this: Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. We are also told to Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.

I oft complained to Jesus how folks were treating me,  We will be treated differently if, in fact, we are living differently. Jesus warned of this during His earthly ministry when he taught His disciples that If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. Even though He warned we would be hated and mistreated, He also promised us a blessing if we are mistreated for His sake: Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Just remember, dear readers, that nothing we bear compares to the burden our Lord bore as he faced His impending death on the Cross. His burden was a literal one as he carried His own crucifixion cross down the Calvary road. My feet were also weary, upon the Calvary road; The cross became so heavy, I fell beneath the load. and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha.

I work so hard for Jesus” I often boast and say. I’ve sacrificed a lot of things to walk the narrow way, I gave up fame and fortune, I’m worth a lot to Thee. That’s us isn’t it? Are we valuable to God? Or course we are! For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. God loved us in spite our ourselves; so much so that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. On the other hand nothing we do for God does anything to restore the separation that exists between Him and us due to our sin.

Why are we valuable to God? Look at how we were made, compared to all of the other living creatures who were made. Only for human kind did the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.

So, yes we have value to God, and He loves us. Yet, due to our sinful conditions we are separated from a just and holy God, for  your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear. Yet, nothing we DO restores us to Him or restores that relationship. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. We are not restored to God because of our works for him, but we are certainly restored so that we can work for him: For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Oh Jesus if I die upon a foreign field someday,‘Twould be no more than love demands, no less could I repay, “No greater love hath mortal man than for a friend to die” That is exactly what our  Lord did for us. God, come to earth in the form of a man, for no other reason than to sacrifice Himself, literally, as the payment for our sins. For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, and the wages of sin is death. Payment was made in full, and no other payment is accepted, for without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins.

It is finished. Our Lord said this as He hung there dying on the Cross of Calvary. It is done, full payment has been made. The debt we owe for our sin is erased, if we have accepted the terms of that payment, which are faith and belief.

‘Twould be no more than love demands, no less could I repay Love makes demands of us, not our feeble efforts to redeem ourselves. And really, love doesn’t demand it, as love doesn’t demand. Love produces it. We pick up our cross, and follow Him, not because He demands it, or because we have to in order to be saved. We do it because He first loved us, and we love him.

“If just a cup of water I place within your hand then just a cup of water is all that I demand.He told us, my yoke is light and my burden is easy. He will never ask of us more than He has given. In fact, we could never do more for Him than He has already done for us. Our song tells us that; if He gives us a cup of water, He will only ask for a cup of water in return.

But if by death to living they can Thy glory see, I‘ll take my cross and follow close to Thee. In the end, that is what it’s all about. God’s glory, and  His honor. We work because we love Him and are grateful to Him, but it the end it is to showcase His glory and power that He was even able to do these great things.

Where do you stand? Are you like a hamster on wheel, spinning in place trying to work your way to God’s Heaven? Stop it, because you can’t. Only the full payment made by Jesus Christ on the lonely Cross can do that for you. By grace you are saved, through faith. Do you have faith? Do you believe? If not, you can today. If so, then pick up your cross and follow Him.

I traveled down a lonely road and no one seemed to care.

The burden on my weary back had bowed me to despair;
I oft complained to Jesus how folks were treating me,
And then I heard Him say so tenderly,
“My feet were also weary, upon the Calvary road;
The cross became so heavy, I fell beneath the load,
Be faithful weary pilgrim the morning I can see,
Just lift your cross and follow close to me.”

“I work so hard for Jesus” I often boast and say
“I’ve sacrificed a lot of things to walk the narrow way,
I gave up fame and fortune, I’m worth a lot to Thee”
And then I hear Him gently say to me,
“I left the throne of glory and counted it but loss,
My hands were nailed in anger upon a cruel cross,
But now we’ll make the journey with your hand safe in mine,
So lift your cross and follow close to me.

Oh Jesus if I die upon a foreign field someday,
‘Twould be no more than love demands, no less could I repay,
“No greater love hath mortal man than for a friend to die”
These are the words He gently spoke to me,
“If just a cup of water I place within your hand
Then just a cup of water is all that I demand.
But if by death to living they can Thy glory see,
I’ll take my cross and follow close to Thee.

Lyrics by Ira Stanphill sung by Larry Ford with the Gaithers

Read more posts by Wally Fry on the Truth in Palmyra Blog

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