In Jos 14:8-9, 14, Caleb’s testimony is that he wholly followed the Lord. He was all in. He stood with God against the spies and the multitude who feared to go into the land of Canaan. Today we want to see how we can wholly follow the Lord like Caleb did.
Most of my preaching and teaching encourages you to make just one step in the right direction and do it over and over again. However, when it comes to serving the Lord, there is a point of decision where you commit with everything you have. You’re all in. That point comes along the walk of making one right step after another. However, this decision to wholly follow the Lord is more of a leap than it is a step. Caleb’s leap came when he spied the land and decided to go in.
Think of the bride walking step after step down the aisle toward her fiancé. That last step, where she says, “I will”, is huge by comparison to those little steps she was taking down the aisle. She arrives with her maiden name and takes the next step as Mrs. Husband’s name. And her life is never the same from that moment forward. She is all in for the rest of her life, or his.
If you have an experience at camp or during a revival or at a missions conference where you commit or surrender, it will be like this leap. You do not want to renege on the decision and return to where you were before you made this life changing decision. Too often these decisions are emotional responses and they have no lasting effect on your life.
So how are we going to wholly follow the Lord? We’ll look at the lives of the disciples to see how.
First you get saved. In Jn 1:35-42 Andrew followed Jesus, v.40, and then went and found Simon. This was the first time Peter had met Jesus. At this time Jesus called him Cephas. Like Peter, when you first come to Jesus and believe, you have a new name written down in glory.
Then you start following Jesus. In Matt 4:18-22, at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, after his wilderness temptation, Peter and Andrew were casting a net into the sea of Galilee. When Jesus told them to follow him, they left their nets. Then Jesus came to James and John, who were mending their nets. When he called them to follow him, they left the ship and their father, and followed him. See Mk 1:16-20.
Then you forsake all to follow him. In Lk 5:1-11, these same four disciples had a major event with Jesus. This is when they took their “leap” and were all in. After catching so many fish that their net broke, they brought their ships to land. At this point, they forsook all, and followed Jesus. They were never the same from this point on.
Some people actually go all in from the beginning, when they first start following Jesus. Matthew was one of these. In Lk 5:27-28 when Jesus met Levi, he left all and followed him, as the other disciples had done. Some forsake all right away and follow him. They are all in.
And you follow him daily. In Lk 9:23 Jesus said to his disciples, “let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me”. Notice that you take up your cross “daily”. There are some days when you may not take up your cross. This happened to Peter in Matt 26:58. Peter followed Jesus afar off. And that distance between them contributed to his denial.
When you backslide, you have to get right with Jesus. In Jn 21:15-19, Jesus came back to Peter after his resurrection and told him to “follow me”. From that point on, Peter did follow him, all the way to his death. He was all in.
Finally, you receive a great reward for forsaking all and following him. In Matt 19:27-29, Peter confirmed that they had forsaken all. And for this and Jesus promised they would rule over the tribes of Israel on twelve thrones. In addition, he promised that anyone who forsakes something or someone here will be given a hundredfold of that which he forsakes. These promises assure us of a great reward for forsaking all and wholly following Jesus. Caleb was rewarded with the possession of his choice in the land of Canaan.
Conclusion: Where are you with Jesus today?
If you’re still not saved, it’s time to come to Jesus and get saved.
On the other hand, if you’re saved but you haven’t started following Jesus, it’s time to leave something and start following him.
If you’re following him but not wholly, then it’s time to forsake all and wholly follow the Lord, like Caleb. It’s time to be all in.
If you have forsaken all but today you’re far off, like Peter was, then you need to take up your cross again and start following the Lord, wholly. For more on this subject see Wholly Follow The Lord.