By Stan Peterson
Following Jesus is simple yet profoundly difficult. To be a disciple we are called to follow Jesus in the example of His life that we see in the Gospels and through His commands to us. The simple part is that it’s very clear how we are to follow Him. But here’s where the difficulty lies: Jesus calls us to repent and believe in the Gospel (Mark 1.15).
We can trust God and all that He calls us to because of the Gospel. The Gospel is the clarion call by and in which we can trust God. God was generous enough to give us His one and only Son as a sacrifice for our sins, once and for all—PERIOD! This knowledge is sufficient enough for us to trust God in and with all of our lives.
Therefore, at the heart of the matter, we are to be a people who walk in faith in this life (Ephesians 2.8-9; Gal. 2.20). Faith in what? Is it a blind faith that we are to walk in and by? “Just believe and your life will be better, Jesus will take care of all your problems.” No, Jesus does not take away our problems, He does not meet us on the other side of our problems (“clean yourself up before you come to Him”); instead, He communes with us in the midst of our problems. That is the good news—God is present with us. He rewards us with Himself! He is our reward, He is our treasure, He is the One Pearl of great price. Our faith is in the Son of God, Jesus Christ. It is impossible to please God without faith, for He who comes to God must believe that He exists, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11.6). By faith we enter into being a disciple, and by faith we continue being a disciple. This faith is in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
We will all come face to face with great difficulties in this life. It could be forgiving a friend who has betrayed us; loving and doing good to those who hate us; giving to a friend who continually asks of us; going the extra mile when we are emotionally out of gas; or even, to him who sues the pants off of us, giving him our jacket as well. When these difficulties come, they should take us back to Jesus’ command to repent and believe in the Gospel, for He is wholly sufficient for us. He is our reward, He is our treasure, and He is with us! Repent and believe in the Gospel.