When I was in high school, my parents took us on a family vacation to the Grand Canyon. It was five days of rafting, and throughout each day we’d make pit stops for side excursions. On one particular excursion, our guide wanted to take us on an expert-level difficulty hike. There were many obstacles along the way: at times you had to pull yourself up a rock wall with a rope, swim through narrow rock channels, and do a bit of rock climbing. Although I would consider my high school self to be an adventurous young buck, there were moments of hesitation on that hike when met with challenging obstacles.
Like I experienced some reservations at that challenging hike, many people face hesitations in fully following Jesus as our Lord and Savior. There are obstacles that can keep us from wanting to follow Jesus as our spiritual guide. We continued our “Who am I?” series this last Sunday, and we looked at a claim of Jesus that challenged us to follow Him as our spiritual guide.
Jesus said in John 14:6-7, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know Him and have seen Him.”
Jesus claimed that we must follow Him and only Him to have a relationship with God here on earth and for eternity in Heaven. But sometimes people have hesitations to truly follow Jesus. And the type of following I’m talking about is more than just 45 minutes on a Sunday morning. I’m talking about giving up total control and direction of your life to let Jesus guide you in every move you make type of follow. That’s a pretty massive commitment - and that’s why there can be hesitations. Are there any hesitations that you have in following Jesus? If there are obstacles in our way - with anything in life - we should address them, understand them, and hopefully overcome them. So we looked at three of the biggest things that keep us from following Jesus as our spiritual guide.
One of the biggest reasons people find reservations in following Jesus is ignorance. Maybe we don’t fully know who He is, what it means to follow Him, or who we can be as a result of following Him. Christ-follower Thomas, nicknamed “Doubting Thomas,” even had trouble understanding (John 14:5) - and He followed Jesus in the flesh for three years! So, don’t feel bad if you don’t fully understand every aspect of Jesus. God wants to change your life, even if you don’t know it. Don’t let not knowing be an obstacle for you, but be open to hearing what God’s Word has in store for you and keep seeking understanding!
Another big reason that restricts people from following Jesus is fear. It could be a fear that He will change the way you know how to live or perhaps a fear of giving up total control of your life. Here’s the good news for those who fear: He promises to walk alongside us as He transforms us! In Matthew 28, He told His followers, “I am with you always, to the very end…” Fear has the tendency to paralyze us, but in the end, God wants what is best for us. We have nothing to fear because He is with us always.
The third big obstacle is apathy - a good old fashioned “I don’t care” attitude. You could be spiritually dead and just not care about it one bit, or maybe you think “I’m all good” - I am a good enough person, I do some good things, so I’m all good. Here’s the thing with a relationship with God though: you’re either moving towards Him or away from Him. You’re either seeking Him, spending time with Him, and moving closer - or you’re not seeking Him, not spending time with Him, and moving further away. An apathetic faith is like quenching your thirst with a lukewarm glass of water on the hottest day of the year (Rev. 3:15-16) - it’s just blah…
At the beginning, I shared of this extremely difficult hike that I went on in the Grand Canyon, and how there were obstacles and times of hesitation. Even though I questioned if I could finish, I did make it to the end of the hike and I am so glad I did. The end of the hike was a massive underground cavern with stunning bodies of water all around and holes punched out of the ceiling to provide high beams of light. At times, in our spiritual walk with Jesus, we may be met with challenges and obstacles, and we may question if we can finish the race - but my prayer is for anyone reading this that is experiencing those hesitations is to work through them. Because if you trust that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life like He claimed to be - He will be our spiritual guide to a purposeful life and an eternal gift of glory in Heaven.