"If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me". [Mark 8:34]
When non-believers are pondering whether to join our "elite" club of Christians, many think about what they have to give up, as opposed to what they may gain. They think about laws and things they can no longer do, places they can no longer go; so they prolong the act of accepting Christ as their personal savior until they have "gotten some things out of their system." Some good examples are: drinking alcohol, smoking weed or doing other drugs, going to clubs, going to strip clubs, gambling, womanizing, fornicating, etc. The TRUTH is that God already knows how sinful we are in our flesh, He knows all that we have done, and He still wants us to come to Him. What needs to be understood is that Christ sacrificed His life to CLEANSE us of our sin and to give us eternal life; and this can only happen if one believes that Christ died on the cross for us and was risen on the third day.
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, so that who shall believe in Him shall not perish, but shall have everlasting life." [John 3:16]
Now as believers who have already accepted Christ as their personal savior, we need to serve as living examples; as demonstrations to folks striving to become more Christ-like daily. The question is, are we Christians when its convenient, only to try and benefit from what God can do for us? Are we strattling the fence halfway in the world, or are we completely sold-out for God, willing to do whatever it takes to please Him?
"Loving God means keeping His commandments and His commandments are not burdensome." [1 John 5:13]
Let's keep it real, I've been a Christian for twenty plus years, and I know that there are certain things that I enjoy doing and just don't want to give up. My flesh justifies that God "knows my heart" and my sin will be forgiven. I can admit that this is "self-ish" and I am still holding on to a piece of my "old" self. But the word says "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation, old things have passed away; behold all things have become new." [2 Corinthians 5:17]
In other words, if I truly want to be Christ-like, then I need to be "self-less" and give myself COMPLETELY to God's cause. I now realize that I have to change my mindset. If we truly view ourselves as "soldiers" in God's army, then we will realize that we need to be ready at any moment for God's call to fight the fight against the enemy and to help save souls. Can we minister to someone who needs us if we are inebriated? Can we quote a scripture on a dime if we are high? Can God use us if we are sick becuase we're neglecting our health?
If we say that we are ready and completely sold-out for God, then it's a matter of preparing daily for this on-going battle against the enemy. Do you think that the soldiers in Iraq went to war without extensive training and preparation? Our preparation entails immersing ourselves in God's word daily. What I have learned is that when we do that, we learn more and more about how AWESOME God is. Not only for what He can do for us, but for what He has already done for us. To have an Abba Father that loves us unconditionally in spite of our flaws and who wants the best for us at all times in spite of ourselves is PHENOMENAL! Reading daily and growing closer to God causes us to fall in love with Him and desire to please Him; which means obeying His commands becomes easier. We want God to choose us like a star pupil in a classroom who waves his hand obssesively to be chosen. We want God to be proud of us the same way that we strive growing up for the approval of our parents.
So "soldiers" who want to be "sold-out" for God, pick-up your bibles, confess what you've been holding on to, surrender yourselves COMPLETELY to God, and watch God work!!
Are you ready??
"You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God?" [James 4:4]
"If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." [Mark 8:34]
Love, laugh and live.....life is short. ~Sheree