Why Following Jesus is Difficult, Risky, and Adventurous

Toward the end of the nineteenth century, Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel awoke one morning to read his own obituary in the local newspaper: “Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, who died yesterday, devised a way for more people to be killed in a war than ever before, and he died a very rich man.” Actually, it was Alfred’s older brother who had died; a newspaper reporter had bungled the epitaph. But the account had a profound effect on Nobel. He decided he wanted to be known for something other than developing the means to kill people efficiently and for amassing a fortune in the process. So he initiated the Nobel Prize, the award for scientists and writers who foster peace. Nobel said, “Every man ought to have the chance to correct his epitaph in midstream and write a new one.” 1 What do you want your life to be known for? Do you desire to be known as a man who followed God’s plan fully for their life? Do you desire to complete all the will of God? Then strap your seatbelt because you are in for a ride. It’s a great ride. A wild ride. A challenging ride. A ride that will test you to the max. Jesus will lead into places you never thought you’d be and ask you to do things that are way outside your comfort zone.

  • This post is mostly a personal testimony of following Jesus for over forty years.
  • Let’ start it with one of my favorite John Maxwell quotes on what it takes to accomplish anything in life.

“Most of the accomplishments I’ve achieved in life I began to attempt before I was really ready. When I was teaching pastors leadership in 1984 and they asked for ongoing teaching, I wasn’t ready to give it to them. But during a conference with thirty-four people in Jackson, Mississippi, I decided to pass around a legal pad and get the contact information for anyone who wanted to receive a monthly leadership tape. All thirty-four signed up. Was I ready to start a monthly leadership subscription series? No. Did I start it anyway? Yes. When I needed to raise money to relocate my church, did I know how to do it? No. Did I start to do it anyway? Yes. When I founded EQUIP to teach leadership to people in countries around the world, did I have a proven strategy to get it done? No. Did we get started anyway? Yes. Nobody ever got ready by waiting. You only get ready by starting.” 2

  • You only get ready by starting, ‘wow’ is that the truth.

My Personal Testimony: A Life’s Journey of Following Jesus

  • When I look back at 41 years of walking with Jesus, I can tell you from firsthand experience, it can be difficult, risky and adventurous.
  • Another John Maxwell quote comes to mind.

“When you do what you want to do, it will be more difficult than you ever imagined. I had no idea how much time it would take to be effective. I never expected to have such great demands put on my life or to have to keep paying the price to be successful.” 3

  • I wasn’t saved any more than a few months when I found out what it meant to walk with Jesus.
  • When I first gave my heart to Jesus, all I wanted to do was pray and read the Bible.
  • This posed a problem for my dad who just didn’t understand.
  • My dad did not like the fact that I was always in my room reading the Bible and praying.
  • Eventually, I was given an ultimatum and I had to make a choice, family or Jesus.
  • It was no choice to me.
  • I chose Jesus.
  • It turned out to be the right choice.

Matthew 10:37 (NKJV) — 37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.

  • I left behind the only security that I had at the time, my parents.
  • I let home at the age of nineteen with one-thousand dollars and an old car that gave out shortly after I left.
  • Following Jesus can be difficult and risky.
  • The call to the ministry which occurred in the first church I attended after I was born again was the start of another adventure.
  • I had no speaking ability at all; in fact, it seemed as if I had negative ability in that area.
  • My lack of ability did not alter God’s call.
  • Following Jesus will pull you out of your comfort zone.
  • Later on, there were other elements of risk.
    • ‘Go to Rhema’ was the word of the Lord to me one day as I was praying in church before a service.
  • How do I do that exactly?
  • At the time I had a young wife and a new born child.
  • We have to move halfway across the country.
  • We had jobs and careers and more family that we left behind.
  • We went from high paying jobs to minimum wage jobs.
  • How exactly am I supposed to feed my family and pay east coast bills on $3.25 per hour?
  • Following Him can be risky business.
  • Then after we filled the Rhema portion, the word of the Lord came yet again saying.
    • “Go on the road, use Oklahoma as a base.”
  • Go on the road, become a traveling minister?
  • Me an introvert, a home body?
  • Get out there and setup meetings with people, I don’t even know.
  • How am I supposed to do that?
  • Following Jesus will cause you to give up your security blanket.
  • Then after two hard years of traveling and ministering came this word,
    • “Go to North Tulsa and open a family worship center where people can come and worship me.”
  • Pioneer a church?
  • I don’t know how to do that; never did that before.
  • That was 10 years of my life fulfilling that assignment.
  • After that 10 year period, came this word,
    • “I want you to write a running commentary on the New Testament and publish it as your life’s written work.”
  • How do I do that exactly?
  • I don’t have the academic training to do that.
  • And then just recently,
    • “I want you to look up and look into pod casting. I want you to preach and teach on every available avenue.”
  • Guess what? I didn’t know how to do that either?
  • By the way, the podcast launched on Sept. 30th, 2014.  You can find Season 1 and 2 and 3 of the podcasts here. You can find the weekly teaching here and the commentary on the Bible here.
  • And then in March of this year, 2017, the Spirit of God moved in the area of adding video to the website as well as creating a Bible teaching YouTube channel. (This is currently in progress.)
  • Yes, you guessed it.
  • I don’t know how to do that either.
  • What’s the conclusion here?
  • Either I am the dumbest guy on planet earth since everything that the Lord has asked me to do, I didn’t have a clue on how to do it or there must something following Jesus that will keep you off balance and leaning on Him.
  • Life with God will keep you praying.
  • Life with Him will keep you asking questions.
  • Life with Jesus will keep you running trying to keep up with Him.

John 15:5 (ESV)
5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

Call to Action:

If you are looking for a life that has no challenges, you are in the wrong business trying to follow Jesus. Jesus will challenge and elevate your life. Understand that stepping out on faith to do something that He has asked you to do as a feeling of risk attached to it. It’s normally Christianity. Don’t be afraid just step out.

Question: In this post, I have detailed some of my points of commitment at various times in my life. What about you? What were your personal points of dedication? Would you please share some of that with us in the comments section below?

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References:

  1. Leadership Ministries Worldwide, Practical Illustrations: Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians (Chattanooga, TN: Leadership Ministries Worldwide, 2001), 117.
  2.  Maxwell, The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth. page 31
  3. Maxwell, The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth.