Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Follower of Jesus Christ

“Salvation is free; it costs you nothing. Following Christ will
eventually cost you something.” - Andy Stanley

Do you identify yourself as a follower of Jesus Christ?  What would you do if God called you to do something beyond anything you ever planned or imagined?  I have friends who have answered the call.  I pray that my response would be “Yes, Lord, whatever you ask of me, I will do it.” 

That’s easy to say when the idea is far off in the distance.  But when I was confronted with the possibility, it was much more difficult than I thought it would be.  About a year ago, I received an email from an international mission organization asking me if I would be interested in serving as a business manager for one of their units in Africa.  This was not an email blast that was sent to dozens or even hundreds of people.  This was a personal email from their recruiter that was directed to me.  When I first read the message, I dismissed it immediately.  Serving a mission organization in Africa was the farthest thing from anything I wanted to do.

As I was going through my emails a few days later, I noticed that I hadn’t deleted that email.  As I read it again, I decided that I needed to pray about the request rather than just dismiss it.  If I truly believed that we are to be “doers of the Word and not hearers only,” I needed to be willing to obey God, even if He was calling me to Africa.

It was with great apprehension that I approached God and asked Him to make it clear to me what He wanted me to do.  I told Him that if He wanted me to do this, I would do it.  As I prayed, I thought about the fact that I had two sons in college.  I thought about what it would be like for Cheri and me to leave everything we have here and move to Africa.  I thought about the possibility that in just a few years my two sons could be married and would start their own families, and I didn’t want to miss that.  I thought about all of our “stuff” and what it would be like to sell it all or give it away.  I didn’t want to go to Africa, and I’ll admit I was very relieved that God didn’t put it on our hearts that He wanted us to go.  But it was definitely a wake-up call that made me aware of how difficult it can be to deny myself in order to follow Christ.

Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” We are saved by God’s grace, which he gives freely to all who will believe in Jesus as the Son of God.  But following Christ is more than merely living under God’s grace.  We must deny ourselves so that we can follow Him.  If we try to do this under our own power, we will fail.  But God will give us the ability through His strength if we will yield to Him.

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