Maybe You Should Turn Back Now – Reasons NOT to Follow Jesus (Part 1)

There are a lot of really good reasons not to follow Jesus. Seriously.

It’s hard work. It requires sacrifice. You have to change in ways I’ll tell you right now you aren’t prepared to change and in the coming years, I suspect it will actually become as downright dangerous to be a Christian in America as it is now in other areas of the world.

Twenty years ago, I would have written this as a gimmick post (well, I wouldn’t have been blogging then but you know what I mean). Not today. Today, I am convinced I should warn you of some of the reasons you should NOT follow Jesus. This may take more than one post.

In case you’re worried that this is not Biblical, let me assure you that Jesus had a habit, one that probably threw the disciples into regular fits of frustration, of warning people away or saying exactly the thing that would be sure to frighten them off from following Him.

I work in a world of coaches, personal trainers and exercise instructors and they are regularly warning individuals that they may not have what it takes to be on their teams or in their classes. Making the team or class isn’t even the end of the weeding process. There’s not a football coach on earth who puts up a sign that says he’ll take anyone who wants to play and then they can forgo training, just show up for games when they feel up to it and play any way the football spirit leads them to play in that moment. There is no personal trainer I know of who takes on a client and says “Let’s do only enough work to keep you exactly the way you are today.” There’s no exercise instructor who tells her class she doesn’t believe in judging others so they can use any form of an exercise that feels right to them. It doesn’t happen.

Jesus was less like today’s television preachers and a lot more like today’s football coaches and trainers.

He said things like “Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?” Matthew 16:24-26 NIV

Or “Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’ “Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace .In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:25-33

Giving up everything you have. Everything. That’s what following Jesus means, that’s what it requires, everything.

After more than four decades with Jesus, I’m at a place right now where I can hear Him asking me “Are you ready to go deeper? Are you prepared for what that may mean?” The process only begins at the decision to follow Jesus. The choices continue and the questions get harder.

So reason number one why you should not follow Jesus is this: You’re feeling the need for some religion in your life.

If that’s you, then Jesus isn’t what you’re looking for. There is a whole world of religion out there – many that boast they are pre-Christian, ancient, new age, Eastern, traditional, or inclusive. The a la carte menu of world religions is endless. There’s even one that seems like following Jesus but it isn’t. It’s the “religion” of Christianity and believe me, there’s a difference. So, if you’re feeling the need for some religion there are a host of lovely choices out there, go for one of those.

Following Jesus is not a religion as the world has come to define religion. The life of a Jesus follower cannot be contained in a particular building or confined to a specific day of the week or defined by a system of rituals or restrained from affecting areas of the follower’s life that do not conventionally fall under the category of spirituality. When you invite Jesus into your business, nothing is off limits. Like the best football coaches in the big leagues, when you sign with Jesus – He owns you, man.

So, if you just want a box to check off on the census or at the hospital when they ask your religion – don’t follow Jesus. He won’t fit in that box. If that’s what you’re looking for, maybe you should turn back now. If you’re up for more than that – show up for my next post.

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    The Conversation

  1. WOMAN!

    You are BOLD! I have been wanting to hear someone preach like this! Can’t wait for the next installment!

  2. Fabulous! Repostable! Great job, Lori!

  3. Colleen Scott says:

    I am a new follower of your blog…fantastic post!

  4. Karin says:

    Wow! Excellent post – saying it like it is! I’m such a wimp as I go through the training though…..

  5. Meredith Washburn says:

    I will show up for your next post, looking forward to it.

  6. Betsy, Woman! Keep me in prayer through this series of posts!

  7. Colleen, welcome to the blog! How did you come across me? Look forward to your visits.

  8. Karin, to misquote Paul “I am chief among wimps” – believe me. What I write is what I’m working through. God bless!

  9. Welcome, Meredith! I look forward to your next visit. God bless you!

  10. covnitkepr1 says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. I’ll do that, covnitkepr1. Thanks for coming by!

  12. covnitkepr1 says:

    I hope your readers, followers, and visitors know that what you have said in this post is the truth. If we won’t carry our cross…He says we are not worthy to wear the name ansd be a follower.

  13. Cheri says:

    Amen, amen, and amen.

    Loved this: “After more than four decades with Jesus, I’m at a place right now where I can hear Him asking me “Are you ready to go deeper? Are you prepared for what that may mean?” The process only begins at the decision to follow Jesus. The choices continue and the questions get harder.”

    Following Christ isn’t for cowards!


  14. Carmen says:

    A crutch? Pffft!! Good post Lori!!

  15. Carmen says:

    Hmmmm….maybe I should clarify that last statement. Seeing Jesus as a crutch implies that Jesus will just hold us up while we dangle uselessly off of Him. The truth is, Jesus empowers us with His life and we are more than conquerors through Him. We are ‘dead’ yet alive in Him.