Salvation is a free gift of God that comes to us through faith in His Son. Jesus did everything necessary to accomplish our forgiveness and reconciliation with the Father. We can add nothing to this transaction; our job is simply to believe.
But from that point on, each one of us must make a choice: Will we follow Jesus or just coast along doing what we want? If you limit your Christianity to merely sitting in a pew on Sunday mornings, you’ll miss the greatest adventure of your life. Being a disciple of Christ requires that we be actively engaged in our relationship with Him and in service to others.
Jesus never painted a rosy picture when He called people to follow Him. He stated quite plainly that becoming His follower would require self-denial, sacrifice, and suffering. With this kind of job description, it’s no wonder so many believers have tried to make Christianity a spectator sport. Following Jesus means that He directs our lives—that’s what dying to self is all about. We give up our rights to do what we want, and instead submit to His will, even if it’s difficult or doesn’t agree with our preference. If you don’t realize how good, loving, and wise our God is, walking in His will may seem scary or even foolish.
Those who deny themselves to follow Christ discover they lose nothing and gain everything. Even amidst pain and suffering, He gives His disciples inner peace and joy that transcend circumstances. Are you following Jesus or yourself? Your lifestyle, words, and attitudes reveal who truly rules your life.
Dr. Charles Stanley