“I’m not going to force the issue here. The decision is yours. You’ll have to make up your own mind. So, what do you think? Will you do it, or not?”
When Jesus challenged His disciples to consider a commitment of their lives to Him, He put it in terms of a personal decision. In Matthew 16:24 He said, “If anyone will come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” “If anyone will” – this is something each person had to want to do. It was their own decision. It was an appeal – not a command. They had to exercise their will in favor of what He was saying.
The word “will” here is the common Greek word for a wish or a desire, but it also has the idea of determining something. It’s the will of purpose or resolve and it includes a choice based on a desire for something. Now that’s what a relationship with Jesus Christ is all about. It cannot be forced or coerced. It’s a decision you must make based on a desire to follow Him.
When our daughter was a young girl she had a talking doll. There was a mechanical recording inside of the doll so that when she pulled a string the doll would say, “I love you, I love you.” Then she would caress the doll, pretending that the doll loved her. But we all know that this isn’t true love – Right? Love is not a programmed mechanical response. It is the free expression of the desire of the heart.
Now that’s why Jesus said, “If anyone will come after me…” It’s a matter of your will. It’s a personal choice.
So – what do you think? WILL you pursue Him, or not?