“Peter began to say to him, ‘See, we have left everything and followed you.'” (ESV – Read the chapter)
What Peter says here is no small thing. Have you left everything and followed Jesus? Have you really left anything to follow Him? What did you leave behind? If you have indeed not left anything behind, there is a rather uncomfortable question you are going to need to answer: Are you really following Jesus?
There are, I think, many people in churches across the country and even the world (but more so in the country since the cost of following Jesus in the United State is still so comparatively low in consideration of what believers in much of the rest of the world must risk and sacrifice and give up to do so) who are going to church, but who aren’t really following Jesus. As the culture continues turning away from its Christian worldview foundations this doesn’t happen as often as it used to, but it still happens where cultural Christianity holds some sway.
And, I should note, to a certain extent this isn’t solely their fault. They were led to the church under false pretenses. They were told they could come as they were–which is the right message for the church to be proclaiming–but they weren’t told the other side either at the time or even later (which would have been deceptive on the part of the properly faithful in the church): We’re not going to leave you as you are. Or better yet: Jesus will always accept you as you are, but you cannot remain as you are if you are going to follow Him.
You see, in order to become a follower of Jesus, we can’t be following anything else. At all. He’s really exclusive in that way. He will never be content with just part of us and in fact the Gospels record Him as more than once telling sincerely interested followers to not bother because they had other things pulling on their hearts which they weren’t willing to leave behind entirely.
So I ask again: What have you given up to follow Jesus? If your answer is not everything (including any visions of what following Jesus might accomplish in your life–following Jesus is not merely some self-help strategy), my challenge to you (and me!) is to examine what you’re doing. Ask yourself and the Holy Spirit questions like these and stick around for the answers: What things are pulling on my heart other than Jesus? Am I willing to give these to Him without expecting them back in return? Is there anything I would not be willing to give up for the sake of Jesus? How can I give myself to Him more completely?
Put yourself in the place of the disciples. Jesus Himself promised it would be worth it. If you are even playing at being one of His followers, it’s time to trust Him. Count the cost, yes, but come and trust Him.