Do you ever wonder why you don’t see more truly committed Christians than you do? There are a lot of people who say they are Christians, but when you look at how they live their lives, it can lead one to wonder just how sincerely committed they are to following Christ. Do you know someone who claims to be a Christian who make a promise, then breaks it? Or easily loses their temper, gossips and lives more for the things of this world than the spiritual? Or what about prayer? Do you know someone who calls themselves a Christian who wouldn’t be caught praying in public, or carrying a Bible other than to church?
Following Jesus is not easy. He expects much of His followers. Jesus does not promise His followers prestige, popularity, success or comfort. Rather, He speaks of a cross, of self-denial and sacrificial living. Committed Christians must be tough because Jesus does not want half-hearted loyalty. With Jesus, there is no sitting on the fence dangling one leg in the secular world and the other leg in the spiritual world. With Jesus it is all or nothing.
Yes, Jesus can be hard to please, but why shouldn't He be? He gave up His life, that we might have eternal life. He doesn't want people to follow Him whose only interest is to see what they can get from Him. He is not some miracle worker who snaps His fingers and instantly gives us what we want. In truth, Jesus simply may be too demanding for some people.
What do you think of when you hear the word Christian? Someone who is a law-abiding citizen? A good neighbor who keeps their house in great shape, contributes to worthy causes, is always happy and content? There are a lot of people who fit those descriptions who are not Christians. Well, you say, a Christian is a person who believes in God. But don’t people of other religions, like Islam and Judaism, also believe in God?
Jesus wants no less than 100 percent of your loyalty. He demands all of your heart, soul, strength and mind. Jesus insists on being first in your life. He desires your complete devotion, your highest thoughts, your entire life and nothing less. He expects His followers to pick up their cross, deny themselves, lose their life for His sake and give Him top priority in their lives.
Seven things that Jesus expects of His followers:
• Live a life worthy of bearing His name
• Take a rightful place in His church
• Give of yourself in service to others
• Commit your money, time and abilities to Him
• Be a witness for Him to others
• Be a student of His Word by reading your Bible
• Stay in an intimate relationship with Him through prayer
Those who make the decision to turn their lives over to Jesus ask Him to direct and take control of their lives. It is a personal choice they make in their hearts. Jesus never imposes Himself on others. But for those who are and remain committed to Him there is untold love, joy, peace, and contentment that can only be found in Jesus. The more Jesus is your Lord, the more freedom you will experience.