Following Jesus

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV
The most important decision that you make in this life is deciding who you will follow. Who you follow impacts the quality of your life on earth and determines where you will spend eternity after this life is over. There is no greater life than the one lived following Jesus! It is a life where you lay down everything only to find you have more than you ever had before. One of the first and most influential followers of Jesus was a man named Paul. He had the impressive resume in life, but he didn't really experience fulfillment until he encountered Jesus and decided to live for him. This is what he said about this new life:

I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ.. Philippians 3:7-8 NLT

People are always looking for happiness and fulfillment, but only when we turn from our way to following Jesus will we experience the full life he has for us! This why the Bible is so specific about declaring Jesus as our Lord. It's not enough just to believe that he's real; you must choose to confess and follow him.

Foundation truth

Before you get into anything else, you should know a foundational truth regrading the heart and character of God that the entire Bible and your relationship with Jesus are built on. GOD LOVES YOU AND WANTS TO BE CLOSE TO YOU! As you develop your relationship with God, it's important to know he isn't tolerating you, or putting up with you, or trying to get rid of you; he has already done everything to be close to you.  He wants a relationship with us for all eternity.

From the beginning of time, God walked with the people that he loves, as he did when he spent time with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. But, because God loved them, he also gave them the ability to choose to love and follow him and experience all the good he had for them or the choice to go their own way and be separated from him. Even in that perfect garden, where they had everything they needed, they chose to sin by disobeying God's command not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. That sin created a gap between God and humanity, yet in His mercy, God set a plan in motion to bring us back to himself, which is embodied in this incredible bible verse.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16 NKJV

Through Jesus, we now are able to come close to God again. The sin and brokenness that held us back and away from God are now taken care of by Jesus's sacrifice. The Bible says that the cost of sin is death. There was a price to be paid, and through the perfect sacrifice of Jesus that debt is satisfied. The Bible says that Jesus was a "ransom for many" (Matthew 20:28, Mark 10:45). The word ransom; it means to aggressively take back. Sin held us captive by the devil and a slave to his ways, but Jesus left heaven, came to earth, and with his death on the cross, he ransomed us; he took us back from control of the enemy to be close to himself again.

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. Revelation 3:20 NKJV

As you follow Jesus, never forget how much he loves you and wants to be close to you. Jesus' invitation isn't based on our perfection or our ability to do all the right things. It is because the grace of Jesus that this invitation to come close was made available.