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Thursday, November 29, 2012

I Have Decided to Follow Jesus

This song came to mind a few days ago:  "I Have Decided to Follow Jesus".  I jotted down a few other thoughts along with the song title, then thought about what that song means to me.

For me, the day I decided to follow Jesus, I decided to follow Him without exception.  It doesn't mean that I've always followed closely or haven't had a few detours along the way.  I have.  There have been times in my life that I didn't pray like I should, or study and read the Bible like I should, or strive to live a holy life like I should.  At times I was following, but not very close.  But I never quit following.  That's the key.  As the song lyrics say, "No turning back".

I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. 18 For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people. 19 Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I rejoice because of you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.
Romans 16:17-19

I'll never forget sitting in a Bible class and the teacher was talking about worshipping together and class.  One sweet lady said, "Sometimes it's hard to decide whether to come or not."  She meant well and was very sincere, I know, but something struck me as odd with her statement.  The "decide" part.  That isn't something I ever do - "decide" whether or not to go to worship or Bible class.  To me, that decision was decided the moment I became a Christian and had my sins forgiven.  Why would I ever have to decide whether to worship Him with my church family?

Maybe you do have to decide whether to worship each Sunday or Wednesday or to be involved in any works of the church.  Maybe for you it is a choice each time.  If so, please consider this:  What if God made a choice about your salvation each of those times?  He doesn't, and He won't.  That's not how He deals with His children.  But what if He did?  We wouldn't think much about His free gift, would we?  We wouldn't think He loved us as much as He says He does, would we?  So what are you telling God by the way you live?  By the way your worship?  By the way you think about His church that you are a part of?  YOU are the church - the church He gave His one and only Son for!

Commit to the Lord whatever you do,  and he will establish your plans.
Proverbs 16:3

A few of the words in the "I Have Decided to Follow Jesus" song say, "tho' none go with me, I still will follow", and "my cross I'll carry 'til I see Jesus".  When we sing those words, we should mean them.  If no one else follows Him - I will!  I will carry my cross until I see Jesus!  Following Jesus may mean going alone - without your spouse and without your family.  Following Jesus means following daily and not making it a daily decision.  It should be a one-time decision - without wavering faith.  Yes, at times our faith may be stronger and then at time it may be weaker, but it's still there.  The faith doesn't go away.

By taking up your cross daily, you are telling Jesus you are willing to follow Him by denying yourself. Maybe you want to go shopping instead of worshipping Him.  You deny yourself.  Maybe you want to go golfing instead of helping with the food baskets for the needy.  You deny yourself.  Maybe you need more money so you take a job that will keep you totally away from meeting with your church family at all.  You deny yourself.

God will bless those who love Him and serve Him.  He wants you to decide to follow Him once and to keep that commitment to Him.  If you've recently decided to quit following Him, please reconsider. He will keep His commitment to you because He loves you so very much!

Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. 25 What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? 
Luke 9:23-25


Wa Wa Waughs said...

I love that second paragraph! Most Christians can probably say that at times. Thankfully He always wants us back...I remember singing that song before I had made the decision to be baptized and feeling extremely guilty for singing it. Probably because the words I was singing didn't match my life at the time!

Edna Ingram said...

Lori, I remember a time when Bobby was only making about $400 a week and a man from Coalgate came and offered him a job during the oil boom in the panhandle of Texas. He said he would pay him $2400 a week!!! That was more than the president was making at that time.
Bobby turned it down because it would have been an 'on call' job and he would have probably had to miss worship services. That was 6 times what he was making. He wasn't even tempted because he knew he would have been a bad influence on his family.
Another member of the church was in the barber shop at the time of the offer and he told Bobby he was crazy...because he could work a year and then retire for the rest of his life.

Lori said...

Thanks, Robin.

Edna - Good for Bobby! Great for your family, too! It's sad that so many do put things of the world above God and His Will.

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