Let’s be honest here, we are going to get out of our spiritual bodies what we put in. Just as an athlete will only be as good as he is willing to work, our Christian walk will reflect how seriously we take our commitment to Christ. If I want to lose weight, I am going to have to change the eating lifestyle that I have adopted. I am going to have to drastically alter the way I eat. If we want to be the true followers of Christ that many of us want to be, we must drastically alter the way we live and how the world sees us. Following Christ is a lifestyle change. I believe that one of the biggest problems with Christians today is that we want to blend in, camouflage ourselves so that no one will notice us. Sure we go to church and we pray, we may even invite someone to go with us from time to time, but that is not where we were sent to take God’s word. We come to church to be fed and to recharge, we leave church and enter the mission field. Outside the safety our our church doors lies the “ends of the Earth.”
We are missing key fundamental truths of our faith. By ignoring these truths, we are consistently falling short of the mission and purpose God gave us. One of these glaring problems is that we often act surprised that following Christ isn’t always candy and roses. This baffles me, because in Luke chapter 9, Jesus tells many who ask to follow Him just how difficult the path would be. Jesus says in verse 58, “foxes have dens and the birds have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” Jesus tells us in this passage, and alludes to it in other passages, that to follow Him these men would be homeless, beaten, mocked, tortured, imprisoned, and after all of that, oh yeah- they will likely be executed. In fact, Jesus spends more time talking people out of following Him than he does talking them in to following Him. Yet, we act surprised when people challenge us and tear us down for our beliefs. When that happens, we try to tuck ourselves away and blend in with the crowd. We become afraid to make waves, we are afraid that our faith might be seen as tacky. We say things like, “there is a place and time for everything.” These thoughts are tools of the devil to get us to back down from the commission we were given by Christ Himself. We are fed and believe that the Bible teaches “all things in moderation,” which is fine if you are talking about food, but spiritually speaking, in my opinion it is from the very pit of Hell (by the way, so you know, “all things in moderation” is a Buddhist principle- not a Biblical one). Jesus wants followers, not fans. We were called to be different, sanctified by God’s grace and Christ’s blood- set apart for a purpose to deliver the gospel of Jesus Christ. As followers of Christ we should stick out like a sore thumb. If we look around and we notice that we blend in with everyone else and their ways of life, then it is time for things to change. If we use the same language, do the same things, engage in the same habits, laugh at the same put downs, then we are not the ambassadors for Christ that we should be. Our faith is so different than anything the world looks like, if we truly followed Christ, we’d look completely different- night and day. When we look like Christ, we don’t look like the world.
Following Christ is a tough, tough, commitment. Sure we will falter and we will stumble and fall. But, we need to choose to stumble and fall forward toward Christ, instead of falling away from Him. If and when I sin, I will do so moving toward Christ and I will make it my goal to never repeat it again because I will leave it behind me as a lesson learned. Following Christ is a lifestyle and it requires a lifestyle change, a lifestyle change more radical than any diet or any fitness plan. We do this by keeping God’s word and tattooing it on our hearts. Hebrews 8:6-13 says:
“But Jesus has now obtained a superior ministry, and to that degree He is the mediator of a better covenant, which has been legally enacted on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion for a second one. But finding fault with His people, He says: Look, the days are coming, says the Lord,when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— not like the covenant that I made with their ancestors on the day I took them by their hands to lead them out of the land of Egypt. I disregarded them, says the Lord, because they did not continue in My covenant. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be My people. And each person will not teach his fellow citizen, and each his brother, saying, “Know the Lord,” because they will all know Me, from the least to the greatest of them. For I will be merciful to their wrongdoing, and I will never again remember their sins. By saying, a new covenant, He has declared that the first is old. And what is old and aging is about to disappear.”
Following Christ and being completely sold out for Him, reading His word and tattooing it on your heart, regularly speaking and praying with Him- fulfilling our great commission is more than just a good idea, its way of life. It’s time for a lifestyle change.
In Christ Alone,
Rev. Bro. Coach