Don’t take this lightly. For Jesus didn’t.
He really meant business with you—if you really want to be a Christian or not.
“Then Jesus told his disciples,” according to the Gospel of Matthew, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
1. Decide While You Can.
No one was actually born a Christian. That common notion must be dispelled. Jesus himself did not teach that, neither the whole Bible.
Perhaps many would claim that being born into a professing Christian nation or practicing Christian family qualifies one as a Christian.
There may be truth in it for a religion, but as far as Christ is concerned that may not be the case.
When Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me,” he was making a conditional offer to someone who has the capacity to make a decision for themselves. It’s not something everyone is born into.
Becoming a genuine Christian is to make a conscious decision to the invitation of Christ to be His disciple.
The truth is that people were born without any consciousness of who Christ is. They may have a certain level of knowledge of Him but it does not qualify them to be a Christian, like someone who knows about science to be a scientist.
The question is: When did you make a conscious decision to believe in Jesus Christ and be His disciple?
2. Disown One’s Self to Follow Jesus.
Majority of professing Christians may have faith in Christ, but not all are followers.
Remember. Jesus talked to the crowd as well as His disciples. If anyone truly believes in Jesus, “let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”
The biggest challenge of someone claiming to be a Christian is the sense of self-entitlement and the right of self-ownership.
But Jesus radically called his listeners to completely “deny” those rights to self. They must realize that in order for them to become genuinely Christians, they have to disown themselves and submit to the total ownership of God.
Not only that, they have to “take up” the cross of Jesus. Don’t judge too quickly in thinking you’ll make a wooden cross and carry those beams behind your back.
In this context, to “take up” means if anyone truly wants to be a disciple of Jesus, that person must “lift up” the cause of Christ, “carry” the call to serve, and “bear” the demand of necessary sacrifices.
Ultimately, to be a genuine Christian disciple is to be a follower of Jesus.
3. Depend on Jesus All Your Life.
It’s more than just knowing the teachings of Jesus to be truly Christian; it’s about believing, learning, understanding, and applying it to one’s life.
As such, to be a follower of Jesus means to live in complete faith and obedience by pursuing Him in every way.
Such life is characterized by the constant living in Christ and for Him alone.
This is the context of what Jesus pointed out. “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
Why is that so?
It’s because God is the Creator and Intelligent Designer of life. Into facto, He owns it.
Anyone who keeps his right to self-ownership will eventually lose everything, even his soul. But he who kills that sense of self-entitlement and totally trust Jesus’ act of redemption at the cross will gain life—even life eternal.
So, are you going to gain everything or find nothing?
Glenn Plastina © 2018