by J.D. Greear

This content is part of a series.

Why Following Jesus is Difficult: The Story of Joseph (2 of 4)
Series: Upside-Down Christmas
J.D. Greear
Matthew 1:18-25

There are a lot of people who simply lack the resolve to genuinely follow Jesus. They'd like to... but to really go all-in requires a motivation beyond what they have.

I think I've been surrounded by those kinds of people all my life. They follow Jesus when it's easy-when they are a part of a group of friends who are all doing it; when it fits naturally within their lifestyle; but they lack the verve to do it when it's hard-but to stand alone; to swim upstream; to keep going when there is nobody standing behind them going ''come on!''-that's when they putter out and fall behind.

To actually follow Jesus is difficult. There is a great irony in the Christian life: following Jesus ushers you into a life that is simultaneously the most joyful and the most difficult on earth.

• John 10:10 tells us that Jesus gives us life, and life more ?abundantly. Psalm 16:11 says that in God's presence is the fullness of joy and Psalm 84:10 tell us better is one day in God's presence than 10,000 anywhere else.

• But Matthew 16 tells us that if we're going to follow Jesus we must take up our cross and follow him.
o I don't know what kind of image that gives to you, but in the ancient world it was not a pleasant one.

o Today we wear crosses made out of diamonds around our necks as pieces of jewelry. Back then it was a symbol of oppression, torture, and death that caused horror in people who saw it.

o In those days normal, nice people didn't get a cross tattooed onto them.

o Imagine you went over to someone's house today and above their baby's crib they had a little hangman's noose. Above their kitchen table they had a picture of an electric chair and in their family room one of a firing squad. You don't stay for dinner and you don't let your kids go for a play-date there. That's the image.

• Paul says in 1 Cor 15 that ...

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