IS JESUS WORTH IT?
Following Jesus isn’t easy. It is not a walk in the park or the solution to end all problems. One of the things that scare me today is how we are so reluctant in reaching out to people and when we do, we most often than not water-down Christianity and the Gospel.
At times, we twist the truth, even if the intention is good. We tell people things they want to hear, and sugarcoat the true message of the Gospel.
We know that following Christ is more than just a casual church attendance. In his book “Follow Me” by David Platt, he raised the question: “Should it alarm us that the bible never mentioned a prayer like that? Should it concern us that nowhere in Scripture is anyone ever told of to ‘Ask Jesus into their hearts’”? Yet a number of professing Christians do this.
I truly believe that someone must first understand what he is getting himself into – that God doesn’t want a couple of hours each week in church, but that we should devote our whole lives!
I’ve come across people who were so eager to follow Christ but later on left the church because they apparently misunderstood what it means to be a Christian. They did not fully understand who Jesus is and why He is worthy of our everything. Many have the misconception that following Jesus is easy – say a simple prayer and that’s it! Most often than not, when that is the expectation, they regret their decision. They go back to their old ways.
Don’t get me wrong – it’s good to invite people to church. But that’s just the first step. There must be something more that we need to do to make them understand the True Gospel.
Jesus was clear about this when He called his disciples in Luke 14:27 ‘Whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.’ Jesus also said in Matthew 7:21: Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. Luke 14:33 likewise states, “In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciple.” Finally, in Luke 10:3 Jesus declares, “Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves...” Jesus laid it all down. No holds barred.
He was upfront on what it really means to follow Him and stated what it would cost his true followers. Some would argue that times were different then when persecution was great: that disciples were rejected, beheaded, martyred, and even stoned to death. We may not be subject to those things today, but courage and perseverance are characteristics that should still be applied.
My pastor once said: “God is gracious but we must understand that He is a Holy God too.” His standards are incomparable to ours that He treats hatred as murder and lustful thoughts as adultery. 1 John 4:20 says ‘If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen cannot love God, whom he has not seen.’ Yes, that is how holy God is and He cannot and will not have anything to do with sin. That is why Jesus had to go down and lay his life for us on the cross. His perfect nature is the only sufficient propitiation for our sins.
We were doomed. But Jesus made it all possible for us to be saved. And by this, we are now able to come into His presence. Because Jesus took our place, we are now called heirs of His kingdom.
That perfect life we’re all looking for can only be found in Jesus.
He loves us so much that He didn’t want us to be separated from Him. This life and our sufferings are temporary, and are nothing compared to what is to come. We may have to give up our earthly desires, but in exchange, we get to serve and be in the presence of the Almighty God, our Creator and Life-giver.
So you see, following Jesus is not easy. It requires a constant reliance and faith on our Savior. Faith that regardless of our circumstances, even though we are crushed, persecuted or like sheep among wolves, our Shepherd overcame them all. And surely if we trust Him, we will also rise with Him and be with Him forever.
Following Him is more than all the things that this world can offer. Serving Him is incomparable. So, is Jesus really worth it all? You tell me.
Writer’s Bio: Patrick Purugganan is from Real Life Christian Communities. He’s an aspiring youth pastor and is very passionate for purity.