- (By CP Cartoonist Rod Anderson)
When the first disciples were called by Christ to follow Him, they left everything behind. It was a drastic decision, but one that was necessary if they were going to follow the Messiah. What about you? Would you leave everything and go with Christ if He came to your door today and called you to join Him?
One of the things about Christianity is that it was never intended to be merely an intellectual exercise. Following Christ goes far beyond believing certain things about God. It gets down to the issue of allegiance, and commitment, and change.
Am I willing to have my life changed to reflect God's agenda for me, or do I expect God to fit into my agenda?
Imagine one of the first disciples saying something like this: "Yes Lord, I would love to come with you. But couldn't we just do everything in a way that won't interfere with the plans I already have in place right here?" That would have been a natural response I suppose. But it wasn't the way those first disciples handled it. By God's grace, they dropped their nets and left everything.
It really boils down to "the nets" doesn't it? Those plans and that work which we consider to be so important. But what if God calls you to drop that work for something better? Then what? Many have heard the call and have made dramatic changes to correspond with God's call on their life. What about you? Have you ever made any significant changes to follow Jesus? Have you ever sensed that He was calling you to be His disciple?
What could possibly be more important in life than doing God's will? Is there even a close second to that monumental goal? Life is all about Jesus. Those who know Him follow Him. Those who don't know Him do their own thing. It's natural to do your own thing. It is supernatural to follow Jesus. So are you flowing in the supernatural power of God, or just doing what you do because you don't know any better?
Christianity isn't just about believing the right way. That is important, but it isn't everything. Correct beliefs lead to correct living. And what could be more correct than following the King of Kings and Lord of Lords? What even comes close to that privilege and honor? And yet, there are so many people who live their entire life and never even give Jesus any serious consideration. Imagine that. Your whole life here on earth without even one day of walking with Christ.
Those who do begin to walk with Jesus often find themselves wanting more and more of the same. It becomes addictive in a very good way. What could be better than being consumed with a desire to follow Christ? The first disciples had that desire, and they followed through on it. They were not perfect of course, but who is perfect other than the Lord Himself? He came for sinners, and not for perfect people.
So do you qualify? Are you a sinner? Do you need the Savior? If you do, it only makes sense to pursue Christ with everything in you. That way, nothing will "get left out on the field" when the horn sounds at the end of the game. There is nothing more tragic than a person waking up one day to realize that he has wasted his life on things that don't matter in the end. And yet so many people have exactly that experience. It could have been avoided if they had chosen to follow Jesus.
Jesus said, "Whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the Gospel will save it." (Mark 8:35) So are you still hanging on to control, or have you handed it over to Christ? One of the toughest things for any of us to do is to hand our life over to the Lord, and then trust Him to have His own way in our life. Our old nature fights hard to hang on to control. That is because we were not born into this world with a nature that wanted to follow Jesus. For this reason, we must be born again. (see John 3:1-18)
So picture Jesus at your front door. Maybe you even peeked out the window and were startled to find that it was Him. What are you going to do? You are only kidding yourself if you think He will stand there forever while you delay, and make excuses, and procrastinate. If you keep that up, you may peek out that window again and find that He has moved on to those who are more receptive.
In other words, you don't have forever to come to your senses. You only have this life. You can "lose" it to Jesus and be saved. Or you can "save" your life for your own agenda and lose your soul at the same time. It really should be a no-brainer. That is, if all we were is "brains and body." But God made us to be a bit more complex. That little thing within us called "our will" is not something that wants to submit to anyone, including God. The very ability to choose is something which God gave us, yet we in turn are prone to choose our way above His way.
Out of love for His Father and for us, Jesus left everything in heaven to come here and save us. The Lord knows we are as lost as lost can be, and only He can straighten things out and get us on course to love God and love one another. Only God can turn us into a new creation and fill our hearts with His love. (see 2 Cor. 5:17) Sure there are plenty of things that compete for our allegiance. But none of them can deliver what the Savior can deliver to our doorstep and to our soul.
Jesus told the church in Laodicea: "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me." (Revelation 3:20) Do you hear the Lord saying the same thing to you today?
You make the call. It's your door. It's your future. It's your life to lose, or to maintain. At the end of life, everyone sees why Jesus takes all of this stuff so seriously. He would love for you to take it seriously too, especially now while you still have a choice. The day is coming when that option will no longer be on the table, and the Savior will no longer be knocking at your door.