Following Christ


"How do I find Christ?  How do I get Him into my life?  What parts of my life will I need to change in order to get Christ into my life?"  All of these are questions that the world asks about Jesus, if in fact the world notices Him at all.

The world, being un-informed about the Bible, approaches the decision about Christ 180 degrees wrong.  The world's questions add up to a perspective on Christ that depict Him as hard to find, hard to please, that allowing Him into our lives is un-natural and compartmentalized, and that accepting Christ is something done at the expense of all the fun things in life.  People of the world wonder what they have to dribble out in order to have a little bit of Christ in their lives. Hence the expression "He has just enough religion to make himself miserable."

Finding Christ:  Actually it is Christ who is trying to find you.  Jesus said in Revelation 3: 20, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. "  Jesus has been looking for you a lot longer than you have been looking for Him. He said in Matthew 11: 28-30, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

God created us in such a way that we would desire to be with Him and His Son.   James 4:4-5  ". . . Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.  Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, "He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us"? "  God has put His Spirit within us (Genesis 1:27) in making us in His image.  He wants to be close to us.  Our inner nature wants to be closer to Him--unless we absolutely clobber those inner callings and insist on doing things our way.   

Drawing close to God, through Jesus His Son, is not some un-natural, out-of-the-body experience.  Living close to God is the natural experience; living in sin like the world is what is un-natural.  Satan, the accuser of the righteous, does everything he possibly can to keep humans from seeing that obvious fact.

To let Christ find you, read His word, the Bible.   Either Matthew or Luke would be good books of the New Testament for anyone to begin reading about who Christ was and is.  Find out what He has to offer you, and what He wants from you.  In some ways, Jesus will want everything you are, and everything you ever will be.  But as you look at how this works out, the price for following Christ will be so much less than the price of keeping on with what you were doing in following Satan.  Satan will kill you now and will kill you later in Hell as well if you keep following him. 

Every person who is old enough to know right from wrong is serving either Jesus or Satan--Every last one of us.  This life upon earth exists to give each one of us an opportunity to choose who we will serve.  There are no third choices.  Our souls will live forever in Heaven or Hell based upon the choices we make during this brief time we have here. Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. " Matthew 6: 24.

By the time you have finished reading at least one of  the first four books of the New Testament--the books that tell directly about the earthly life of Jesus--the natural question to ask will be, "What is my part in learning to walk with Jesus, God's son?"  Read the book of Acts in the New Testament to find out how people became Christians back in the first century.  It's the same way people become Christians today.  People are added to the church the same way now as they were added then--nobody in the first century church ever "joined" a church (Acts 2: 41, 47).  God, not man, does the adding.  He does it simultaneously as we put on Christ in baptism (also see Galatians 3: 27).

Walking with Christ: Living in sin like the world does is so incredibly much harder than living in Christ.  For one thing, Satan keeps adding to the "contract." He has a new fad every day, something to keep his slaves busy until they die without Christ and have to go face the judgement (Revelation 20: 11-15).  By contrast, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13: 8).  His expectations never change.  There are some things that He asks us to put away if we are going to follow Him, but He replaces those sinful practices with a much fuller, happier, spiritually-satisfying life (Colossians 3: 1 - 17).  Christians enjoy living with other Christians because they have become well-adjusted people with a super-long range focus on what is ultimately important.

What will I give up in order to follow Christ?:  This question deserves an honest, non-sugar-coated answer.  The most succinct answers come directly from scripture.

 James 4: 7 - 10 "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you."

Eph 4:17-31 "Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds.  They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.  But that is not the way you learned Christ! assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires,  and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds,  and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.   Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.  Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.  Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.  And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

While we live upon this earth, we will live happier and more fulfilled lives in Christ Jesus than we would outside of Christ.  Life outside of Christ is empty, meaningless, void.  Life in Jesus is an abundant life (John 10: 10).  And the life hereafter in Christ is a life that no thinking person would want to miss.