Why do you follow Jesus?
We live in a pluralistic society with many different religious beliefs. Many in our part of the world still offer allegiance to Jesus as Savior; however, not all who do so have a unified understanding of what it means to live their lives as follower of Christ. Let’s take a moment and examine what God’s Word has to say about this subject.
Many profess that they have trusted Jesus to be their Savior. This is wonderful news, because Jesus Himself said that He came to provide salvation and not condemnation (See John 3:16,17). The confusion arises when people begin to live existentially, a way of living that focuses on self and interpreting life solely on the basis of one’s own experience. While my relationship with Jesus is personal I am not allowed to do my own thing and relate to Jesus anyway I want. I must surrender to Him as Lord and Savior.
Jesus said in Matthew 16:24 that whoever wanted to follow Him must deny himself, take up his cross and follow Jesus. While we can NEVER earn our salvation, once we have experienced God’s saving grace, the next step is to endeavor to live in obedience to Christ. All of us who have trusted Christ as Savior remember the glorious change that took place, the new desire to please God that came upon us, old habits that were changed. However, after a while we began to feel the struggle that the Apostle Paul mentions in Romans 7 when he proclaims, “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death!” He desired to serve God, but struggled. This is where Matthew 16:24 comes into play. Sometimes we will not feel like following Christ. We have to heed the admonition of Colossians 3:5 and mortify (put to death) the deeds of the flesh.
In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus commands us to practice radical amputation by cutting off an offending hand or plucking out an offending eye. He did not intend this literally, but a modern day application would be put a filter on your computer, turn off your smart phone and read the Word and pray, refuse to bring unhealthy food into your home. The flesh is always fighting the new nature that God has implanted within us. This side of heaven we will always have a struggle.
If we are to serve Christ and carry out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) to go into all the world we will have to deny ourselves, step out in faith and try something new (coach a youth basketball team, volunteer at a local school, go on a mission trip, assist in a Sunday School class). It won’t be easy, but living in such a manner will ensure that your life will never be boring or dull. Let us endeavor today to run to our prayer closet and wave the white flag of surrender and say, “I surrender all. I surrender all. All to Thee, my blessed Savior. I surrender all!”