Following Jesus Takes Grit!
By: Jodi Aiken
Have you ever made a promise to God not knowing what kind of resolve it would take, but you were all in?
In my late twenties, God called me to follow Him into ministry. In yielding to His calling I promised God, I would never turn down an opportunity to share with others about the mercy, grace, and redemptive power He granted me. I committed to following Him anywhere, anytime, and at any cost.
Little did I know what kind of grit I would need to keep my commitment.
There have been seasons when I wanted to retract my promise – Seasons that were too hard, too overwhelming, and too painful to forge ahead.
Have you ever wrestled with keeping your promise to God?
Maybe you have been hurt by others within your church, and you’re ready to throw in the towel and quit.
Your clenched fist raised in the air, you have wanted to tell God, “This isn’t what I signed up for!”
Maybe following Jesus has gotten too messy and you question if you’ve made a mistake.
Have you ever lost the wrestling match and “tapped out” on your promise? I confess that I have been a promise breaker. How about you?
We see in Matthew 26 that Peter tapped out. Jesus told the disciples that due to His impending arrest and crucifixion, all the disciples would leave Him. Peter vehemently denied this and declared that even if everyone else forsook Jesus, he would never leave His side. Does this sound like you when you made your promise to God? I know it was my stance.
The interesting thing is that Jesus knew what Peter would struggle with before it happened.
Jesus said to him, “Truly I say to you that this very night before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” Matthew 26:34
Peter indeed broke his promise and denied Jesus three times.
We all wrestle with keeping our promises to God, because “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41)
I’m reminded that Jesus needed to call Peter to follow Him more than once.
• The first time was when Peter was fishing. Jesus looked at Peter and said, “Follow Me,” Peter left his fishing nets and followed Him, immediately. Matthew 4:18-19
• The second time was after Jesus’ death and resurrection. Peter was not certain what had happened to Jesus. I suppose he went back to fishing where he first met Jesus in hopes to gain comfort. Jesus knew where Peter would be and manifested Himself to him there. After breakfast, on the shore, Jesus spoke to Peter saying, “Follow Me.” John 21:18-19 While Peter was listening to Jesus he turned around to see another disciple following them. Peter asked Jesus, “What about him?” Jesus replied, “What is that to you? YOU follow Me!” John 21:20-21
Lean in and listen up!
We also learn from Peter that God doesn’t give up on us! It is okay if we need to be reminded to follow Jesus multiple times. It is okay that we need Jesus to refresh our souls to follow Him.
Keeping our promises and following Jesus takes grit.
He did not say that following Him would be easy; That it would pay our bills, or that people would not hurt us, or even the sacrifice would be without pain. (John 16:33)
What He did say is, “YOU follow ME!”
Praise God that He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins. (1 John 1:9) Praise God that He will see us through any trial. (Matthew 28:20) Praise God that He does not grow weary with us. (Lamentations 3:23) Praise God that His love towards us is unconditional.
Whatever you committed to Him long ago, recommit it to Him afresh even now. He who calls you is faithful, and He will surely do it. (1 Thessalonians 5:24) We serve a God that offers second, and third chances. He knows what He has called us to is difficult, but nothing is too difficult for Him. (Jeremiah 32:17) He who began a good work in us will complete it if we persevere with Him. (Philippians 1:6)
We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us, but we can do nothing apart from Him. Let’s strive to become promise-keepers and not promise-breakers. You have what it take – Jesus and grit!
Jodi Aiken is the mom to two boys, a frequent blogger, and speaker for conferences focused on making disciples among women. She is passionate about sharing her stories and teaching others to know Him and make Him known. She has dedicated over 15 years to leading women’s ministry. Jodi holds an Associates of Science in Business Administration from Pensacola State College, works as a Realtor in the Florida panhandle, and is married to Chris Aiken, a senior pastor in Pensacola and her husband of 28 years.