What does it mean to follow Jesus? It means to be “joined with” Him in death and resurrection. Jesus loved the Father with all His heart; we’ll love the Father with all our hearts. Jesus obeyed the Father, even when it cost Him His life; we’ll obey God even when it’s inconvenient and painful. We choose righteous living and obedience—not only when we’re in church on Sunday morning, but all day every day. We live for God, not for ourselves. We study God’s Word, we pray, we give, we serve, and we act like disciples of Christ—not to earn points with God and twist His arm so He’ll bless us, but because we’ve already been blessed beyond anything we can imagine!
When we trust Jesus, we join Him in death, and His blood pays for our sins. He raises us from the dead to new life. The Christian life, then, isn’t just a different set of moral laws, rigid rules, or habits to follow. It’s dying to ourselves and being raised back to life in Him! Now everything is different. Nothing is the same. Things that used to be so important begin to lose their grip on our hearts. We want to know, love, serve, and honor God out of a full heart of thankfulness. Our purpose has changed, our hearts are transformed, and our loyalties are forever altered. Paul sums up the radical transformation: “But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 6:22–23)
We don’t just sit, soak, and sour in the pew—sitting Christians hatch hypocrites! We get up, go out, and care for people around us with love, humility, and power.
Why don’t more Christians live full-on and full-out for Jesus? Because they’re losing the war going on in their hearts. A war? Yes, a fierce war. If we think becoming a Christian should make life smooth and easy, we need to think again. Any perceptive person already knows about the battle between our selfish desires and our longing to honor God. Paul explained it this way: “I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?” (Rom. 7:22–24)
The battle is fierce, but it’s not hopeless. The answer to Paul’s piercing question comes immediately in the next verse: “Thank God!”
My Challenge to you…
Read Matthew 13:44–46.
Is Jesus a treasure to you? What do you gladly sacrifice to know Him, love Him, and serve Him?