How Far Do You Want to Go?

When I set out on a hike, I have to decide up front how far I want to go. If I leave too late in the day for a five mile hike I could end up lost in dark woods as the sun sets over the west side of the mountains. Or if I have four hours to give to hiking, but choose a simple in and out hike. I waste a precious opportunity to explore a little further, climb a little higher, or even stay a little longer.

Yes, it's important to calculate the distance accurately and measure carefully the time I have to give to my hike. I need to know how far I want to go and how far I can go.

And then I have to work the plan!

Today I'd like to ask you a simple but loaded question.

How far do you want to go with Jesus Christ?

As Jesus traveled the country paths of Galilee, He encountered "followers" who tagged along for varying distances. Some kept up with Jesus just long enough to hear a good story or two. Others persisted along His path until He healed them of their ailments. Still others walked alongside Jesus until He graciously fed them. In fact, many of those He fed with a little boy's lunch of bread and fish continued to follow Him around to the other side of the Sea of Galilee so they could hear a little more and perhaps cash in on another free lunch.

But as Jesus' words began to penetrate a little further into their hearts, as His requests became more weighty and as His questions became more pointed, He began to lose many who followed Him. Jesus looked behind Him to see that where once hundreds and even thousands were in His wake, now only a handful remained.

Following Jesus is not easy, especially for the one who has not counted the cost or measured the distance. But in Luke 14, Jesus challenges those whose interest He has piqued to weigh out their decision carefully before hitting the dusty road He walks.

"Now great crowds were traveling with Him. 
So He turned and said to them: 
26 “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father and mother, 
wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, 
and even his own life—he cannot be My disciple. 
27 Whoever does not bear his own cross 
and come after Me cannot be My disciple.
28 “For which of you, wanting to build a tower, 
doesn’t first sit down and calculate the cost 
to see if he has enough to complete it? 
29 Otherwise, after he has laid the foundation and cannot finish it, 
all the onlookers will begin to make fun of him, 
30 saying, ‘This man started to build and wasn’t able to finish.’
31 “Or what king, going to war against another king, 
will not first sit down and decide if he is able with 10,000 
to oppose the one who comes against him with 20,000? 
32 If not, while the other is still far off, 
he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 
33 In the same way, therefore, every one of you who 
does not say good-bye to all his possessions cannot be My disciple."

So again,

How far do you want to go with Jesus?

For here's what I've discovered: Once you determine how far you want to go...

**Hint, hint!!! It's all the way or nothing with Jesus!**

Then you have to work the plan!

When I commit to a trail in the mountains, set my face forward, put one foot in front of another, and head down the path, I have to be willing to face the challenges of that path, overcome the hurdles, stick to the course, and make good time.

In the same way, when we choose to follow Jesus all the way, we must agree to the terms:
Friends, the distance is worthy of the goal when it comes to following Jesus. Let's commit ourselves as Paul did when he said, 

" thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead,  I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus."

Question: How did you go the distance this week? This isn't bragging; this is testifying to the grace of God and the movement of the Holy Spirit in your life. So please share your encouraging testimony of going the long haul.

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