Are you purposely following Jesus or following Him with the crowd? Or neither?
Following Christ means choosing the narrow road, it means dropping everything we hold onto and heading into a life lived for Him and with Him. So if being saved means taking a literal and active decision, why is it that so many Christians today live their lives without ever having that one moment? Does that still make them saved? The moment you make this decision should be where everything shifts and you wake up the next day and start living your life differently, not just in action but in thought, emotion and character.
Choose to have a moment
As Christians, we need to know the precise moment we actively and consciously decided to follow Jesus. No one in the Bible ever just followed Him from the start, they all had to choose for themselves. If you have a relationship with someone it means there was a moment where you decided to start, commit and work on that relationship.
Sure, there are other relationships, between a father and son for example, that do start from birth. And you may say, well, that has always been there, I never chose my father, I just always loved him. But even then, the only reason you have this love is because your relationship with that parent is active. It’s proof of your father’s constant protection, care and sacrifice. If you are given away to someone else, you end up loving the one that raised you, not your birth-parents. Why? Because you never had a relationship with them. You never made your own choice to listen and obey when they told you off, or to stick together when conflict hit.
Naturally, you always love someone because they love you. What does that make them? Family. So is that what Jesus is to you? Is He family? Someone you cannot live without or only depend on? Someone that you’re completely committed to in the bad and the good? Or is He just the church? The habit. The routine of another Sunday.
Well, be careful. Even if praying before bed and listening to worship music is normal for you now, in time, you may come to a place where you’ll think to yourself: Why am I doing this? And if genuine and deep love isn’t your straight-up answer, you will stop.
Jesus needs an active and conscious decision where you take into consideration everything you give up, all that you risk, and all that you take on in order to follow Him. He wants you to say it out loud. To truly come to terms with the fact that you are dying. Without Him and without His narrow path, we head straight for destruction and eternal death. Realising this fact isn’t just a quick nod of the head but it’s a gut-wrenching, heart-breaking emotion that comes with apprehending just how much we need Him, His mercy and grace. Then, with the full awareness of what we are heading toward, we give up everything of this world for Christ’s love and salvation. And finally, we dedicate our lives to living for Him and choosing light over darkness, life over death.
Re-dedicate your life today. It’s never too late, even if you’ve been attending church for years.
Think of the story of Zacchaeus the tax collector who climbed up a sycamore tree to see who Jesus was (Luke 19). Zacchaeus wanted to know Jesus. It says in Luke 19:3 that Zacchaeus “was short so he couldn’t see”. We may also have things we fall short on: faith, hope, peace. And when we simply follow the crowd, we may feel overwhelmed, unable to truly see who Jesus is.
Zacchaeus didn’t just add himself to the back of the crowd, going where everyone else is going and getting small glimpses and words out of the man everyone was following. The Bible says that the path to salvation is narrow—what does that mean? Not everyone chooses it, no one will automatically want to walk that way because it’s difficult. Our natural response is to walk the easy, fun and light-hearted path that everyone else is on. Ask yourself, do you truly and completely WANT to follow Christ? If you don’t, today is the day to change that. Don't waste any more time but come to the cross that can wash away your sin and give you eternal life. Experience a love that will adore you and all your flaws, and bless you like you've never been blessed. And if you do want to follow Christ, then why? What personally draws you to Him? Why do you need Him? How do you want your life to change? Tell Him and have Him be the answer to all your questions.
The beautiful thing is that Jesus will do the rest. He will come to the deepest and most intimate part of you. He will find you when you look for Him. He is not ashamed of being associated with a sinner, of giving you His full attention.
But what happens is that guilt, sin and condemnation start speaking, ('all the people saw this and began to mutter, “He [Jesus] has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”' Luke 19:7). These lies whisper at your worthlessness of how you don’t deserve Christ and His perfection. Battle those thoughts with the assurance that Jesus knows your name! He died for you and chose you as His own child. And what's most important is: He loves sinners!
Even the apostles had that one moment.
If you think about it, even the apostles had a moment. Simon and Andrew 'immediately' decided to become fishers of men when Jesus called them (Matthew 4:19). Paul chose to follow Jesus when his blinded eyes were healed after three days (Acts 9). And the famous bleeding woman in the Bible chose Jesus the minute she reached out for His cloak in full faith that she'll be healed of her ongoing blood discharge (Luke 9:43-48). None of the well-known people in the Bible simply strolled into Christ: they chose it. Believed it.
The story of Zacchaeus the tax collector ends with him deciding to cut ties with the lies of the past and be found anew in Christ. I’m not saying he did all he promised in that very moment (give all his possessions to the poor etc), but he showed every intention in his honesty to follow through with his promise and confession.
Is today your moment?
Confessing to the Lord and to others that you are saved and are ready for a life of love, freedom and the supernatural can have the power to free addiction, diseases and sin that you've been trapped under for years. And there truly is nothing like that moment of freedom, trust me!
This decision doesn't take place when you're a baby, and it certainly doesn't just happen as you grow in the church: it's memorable, it's significant, it's an epiphany of truth.
The day of today is yours, but tomorrow may not be. If you haven't heard of Jesus yet or you always thought you're saved just because you believe in His existence: think again. Our journey as children of God doesn't come easy or naturally. But He did make it a journey of inconceivable and limitless power, a journey of knowing your heavenly Father, and in turn knowing and becoming your true self. Find the place in your heart that you won’t let anyone see and let Him in. You've seen all that this world has to offer: now come and find what God can offer: I promise you, you won't be disappointed.