“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”
We are going through a series at church right now that has been quite eye opening to me. For a while, I have been fighting this feeling that we as Christians trivialize what being a Christ follower truly means. I have watched people who claim to follow Christ live a life that reflects something very different. Being a Christ follower is not about saying a prayer. Being a Christ follower is not about believing in Jesus. The demons believe in Jesus.
I have spent my entire life in church but on only a few occasions have actually heard it preached or taught that following Christ is a sacrifice. That it is about denying one’s self, taking up your own cross and following Christ. It is living a life of obedience. Somehow, along the way, churches have lost that teaching.
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”
We were created solely for the purpose of bringing honor and glory to God. That’s it. It is not about us. It is not about our happiness, our wealth, and our needs or wants but instead the growth of His kingdom. This is not a difficult concept to understand but because we are such self centered and sinful people, we struggle daily to achieve the goal set before us.
The goal I am referring to is the one that Jesus left with us before ascending into heaven. We are to go out and spread the gospel. Pure and simple. No matter the cost, we are to spread the gospel. Here is what is happening though. We set out to teach people truth but somehow end up helping them to say a prayer, that may or may not be sincere and that does not transform their life. Now I am not saying that this is always the case but I can vouch to the fact that there are many out there walking around professing Christ as their Lord and Savior but living for themselves. Nothing in their life reflects a life where Christ sits on the throne but instead reflects a self-centered love for themselves. In addition, we wonder why people do not want anything to do with our God. Can you blame them?
So what do we do? We set out determined to live a life of sacrifice and devotion to the One who saved us from our sins. We begin a journey where our love for the lost overwhelms us and we are compelled to share the gospel. There are those who would claim that Christ came to save us from hell but that is not true. If He came to save us from hell, then the moment we accepted Him into our lives, we would join Him in heaven because there would be no purpose left for us here. We do have a purpose. He has a plan for every one of us and it begins with Him. It begins with us setting out to share His love, His grace and His mercy with those who need it.
We need to go out looking for those that live in a constant state of conflict not only in their heart but also in their mind. They are lost and cannot gain any understanding for the things of God because the Holy Spirit is not present in their lives. To them, Christianity is just a religion and they are totally unaware of God and His presence. These are the unsaved, the lost. These are the ones we should seek out.
“The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
1 Corinthians 2:14
Maybe you are one of those feeling conflicted. If you feel like you have no peace or purpose in your life or like something is missing, chances are you don’t know Him. If you do know Him but your life if filled with regret and guilt, you may need to reintroduce yourself to Him. Even if you have fallen away, He is waiting with open arms for you to return no matter what you’ve done (much like the story of the prodigal son)
The Lost Son
The following verses say it perfectly. These are the words of Christ and He clearly says that we will be known by our fruit. When I hear that, I immediately begin to name the fruit of the Spirit, which is Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-control. From what I’ve read in scripture a born again Christian clearly reflects these fruits. I believe this. People should know us and see Jesus in us as we go about our everyday life. It doesn’t mean we won’t ever do anything wrong but when life happens, our reaction should reflect something different in us.
“By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.”
So here is what you do. This is straight from scripture and nothing I’ve made up on my own.
“Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?”
2 Corinthians 13:5
Examine your heart. All you have to do is ask the Holy Spirit for direction and He will give it to you. The Holy Spirit of God is so powerful. Some people will say that Satan has made them doubt their salvation but I don’t know that I believe that. Why would Satan make you doubt something that you would investigate further which would be considered a loss to him if you chose God? Just saying…