How do we follow Jesus with complete abandon and what does it look like in daily life?

Because I’ve been following Jesus since sixteen, but I continue to desire to learn how to live it out.

And following Jesus with complete abandon means letting go of—abandoning—all other earthly treasures and idols for Jesus Himself. I follow Jesus and abandon me.

So let’s look at 3 major ways we follow Jesus with abandon and how it affects our life.

(1.) Following Jesus with Complete Abandon: Count the Cost

To come to Christ costs us nothing. But to be a true disciple of Christ costs us everything.

But nothing to everything commands a sizable leap, especially for a college freshman like me with only two years of following Jesus.

Yet, I wanted to jump into every aspect of the Christian life. Still, living on a university campus at eighteen became a whole new world. Since I desired to grow in my faith, I participated in several Christian student groups; Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) and Campus Crusade for Christ (CRU).

But I knew the basics about God and eternal life. I understood the great cost to God by sending His Son to take my place on the cross. Jesus gave His life as payment for mine.

To follow Christ with complete abandonment cost us something.

Costs like:

  • Giving up going our own way.
  • Laying down our personal agenda.
  • Trading our kingdom come for God’s Kingdom come. Even when my way feels good or my agenda seems right, my kingdom often crumbles.

Counting the cost equals freedom. A place of completion. Giving it all for the sake of the call.

(2.) Follow Christ With a Whole Heart

Back in college, I didn’t entirely grasp the concept of being a true disciple of Christ. And I don’t now.

As we continue to follow, we more fully comprehend life as a disciple. It’s a learning process. An act of doing. A choice to follow Jesus with a whole heart—not divided by other desires that take precedence over Him.

The heart of discipleship—investing in the kingdom of heaven where the return on investment is the greatest of all.

A whole heart includes to fall in love with Jesus and stay in love with Him. It means giving all of myself to Him alone, not to the idols or shiny gods of this world. I love Christ more than anyone or anything.

Falling in love with Christ and staying in love with Him isn’t radical Christianity or even a Jesus freak. It’s the heart of a true disciple.

(3.) Follow Jesus with Complete Abandon: Carry My Cross

Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Matthew 16:24-25 (ESV)

Whoa. So complete abandon is denying myself and carrying my cross. It’s more of Jesus and less of me.

Because life is not about me. Even ministry is not about me. It’s about the One who said, “Follow Me.” It’s about Jesus.

The apostle Paul described it this way:

“Whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ.” Philippians 3:7-8 (NASB)

And to gain Christ is the greatest reward of all.

So I’m still learning what it means to count the cost daily. And I’m asking the Lord to show me what taking up my cross and denying myself looks like in real life. I want to know. Because I want the Lord to show me as I also show others—those I disciple, mentor, or influence on and offline.

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