Daily Devotional with Dr. Charles Stanley @ InTouch.org
Saturday, December 31, 2011 and HAPPY NEW YEAR!
What Does It Mean to Follow Jesus?
Read | Matthew 4:18-25
When Jesus called His disciples, they immediately dropped everything and followed Him. We might think, The Christian life must have been simpler for them than for us. When Jesus started walking, they fell in line behind Him. As He taught, they heard His voice. By watching His interactions with people, they learned from His example. But how are we to follow Jesus, since He’s no longer on earth? We can’t touch, see, or hear Him the way they could.
When Christ was about to leave this earth, He promised His disciples that He would send them a Helper who would never leave them. In fact, this Helper would actually live within them (John 14:16-17). Today we follow Jesus by hearing and heeding His indwelling Holy Spirit—that’s the closest guidance we can ever have.
The Spirit does for us all the things Christ did for His disciples. He guides us each step of the way and teaches us the truths of God. But His work actually goes beyond that. The Holy Spirit transforms us from the inside out and enables us to serve and obey the Lord. He helps us discover God’s will for our lives and then give us the desire and strength to follow the path He’s planned for us. All we have to do is follow.
An essential requirement for following Jesus is sensitivity to the Holy Spirit’s voice. The more yielded you are to His guidance as He speaks to you through God’s Word and during prayer, the greater your spiritual hearing will become. Hearing Him is the only way you’ll ever progress in your Christian life.
Satan Tempts Jesus
1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. 3 Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” 4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” 5 Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written:
‘ He shall give His angels charge over you,’ and,
‘ In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’”
7 Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the LORD your God.’” 8 Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.’” 11Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.
Jesus Begins His Galilean Ministry
12 Now when Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, He departed to Galilee. 13 And leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: 15 “ The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles: 16 The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, And upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death Light has dawned.”
17From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Four Fishermen Called as Disciples
18 And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. 19 Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 They immediately left their nets and followed Him. 21 Going on from there, He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets. He called them, 22and immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.
Jesus Heals a Great Multitude
23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people. 24 Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them. 25 Great multitudes followed Him—from Galilee, and from Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and beyond the Jordan.