As a non-believer in Jesus, I was approached numerous times to repeat after them a prayer to God declaring that I was a sinner and that Jesus died and rose again to save me and solidify my future residency in Heaven. That was all there was to it. It seemed too good and too simple to be true, and indeed it was. While many base there standing with God on repeating a prayer, the Bible tells us a different story.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whosoever believes, shall not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16)
The word “believe” comes from the Greek word pisteuo “to believe,” also “to be persuaded of,” and hence, “to place confidence in, to trust.” This verb signifies active reliance upon, not mere credence. It is most frequent in the writings of the Apostle John, especially the gospel.
As a noun, the greek word is pistis translated “belief” in Rom 10:17; 2 Thessalonians 2:13,14. Its chief significance is a conviction respecting God and His Word and the believer’s relationship to Him. (Vines New Testament Dictionary)
Romans 10:17, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. ”
2 Thessalonians 2:13,14 “But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the first-fruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. To this, he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
God is not into having casual relationships with people. Nor is he impressed with perfect church attendance, being on many committees, and putting on a happy face to show others how put-together we are. When we choose to believe, we choose to love and to obey without complaint or hesitation. It is about total surrender to Jesus, which does not come naturally or easily. Discipleship demands sacrifice and Jesus never hid that cost.
In Luke 9:57-62, Jesus tested the level of faith and commitment by posing questions to three people who outwardly seemed willing to follow Him. He found that their commitment was half-hearted at best. They failed to count the cost of following Him. None of them were willing to take up their cross and crucify on it their own interests.
Jesus said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever would lose his life for my sake, will save it” (Luke 9:24-25).
Taking up our cross daily does not have anything to do with self-denial. Instead, it is a life that is completely surrendered to Christ. It is a willingness to sacrifice to Jesus by doing, with joy, whatever He asks us to do. Following Christ becomes a way of life. It is to live a life that calls us to know Him, and learn His voice through prayer, reading, and studying the scriptures. Jesus becomes the epicenter of our lives to whom we daily surrender in obedience His will and not our own.
The call is tough, challenging, and, at times, exhausting, but the reward is priceless.
Have you totally surrendered your life to Jesus?”
- Are you willing to follow Jesus if it means staying off places on the internet that are filling your mind with things of the flesh?
- Are you willing to follow Jesus if it means being kicked out of your friend group?
- Are you willing to follow Jesus if it means alienation from your family?
- Are you willing to follow Jesus if it means failing a class because of your faith in Jesus?
- Are you willing to follow Jesus if it means losing your job?
- Are you willing to follow Jesus if it means losing your life?
2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away, behold, the new has come.”
Galatians 2:19,20 “For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, wh loved me and gave himself for me.”