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The claims of Jesus are unique from all other leaders of history, and from all other religions and belief systems. He is the incarnation – the God of the universe that stepped into human history to reconcile us to Him. This is who Jesus claims to be. And we at Life Lessons believe this is who Jesus really is.
If you have come to believe this also, then you are faced with a critical question: What does Jesus ask of me?
Many people believe in Jesus. But it is not enough to just “believe in” Him – to give mental assent to the facts surrounding the events of his life, death & resurrection. It is not enough to simply believe that He lived or to even recognize what He has done for humanity and for you personally. No, Jesus calls each of us, you and me, to be his follower. He wants to be your Lord -- your boss.
This is a big ask. And many are not willing to accept it.
Jesus faced a man like this once. You can read about this man in Matthew chapter 19. He said, “Jesus I know from what I’ve seen you do, the miracles etc. that you are the answer that I’m seeking, so what do I need to do?” And Jesus told him to follow Him above all other priorities. The man went away sad because he just couldn’t bring himself to do that. There were too many other competing priorities in this man’s life of which he wasn't willing to let go.
And Jesus didn’t chase after him and try to negotiate. Jesus didn’t offer to cut him a deal. Jesus knew the man wasn’t ready to completely surrender his own agenda and become a follower, a learner, a disciple. And so Jesus let the man go away. Perhaps the man eventually became a follower of Jesus. Perhaps he didn’t. We don’t know. But Jesus didn’t attempt to minimize the requirement.
Becoming a follower of Jesus is not easy. Following Jesus means yielding to His will for your life. It means He becomes the boss. Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my father who is in heaven will enter.” (Matthew 7:21)
Too many church leaders have inadequately presented Jesus’ “offer” of salvation. They use terms like “ask Jesus to come into your life” or “ask Jesus into your heart.” This is a woefully inadequate communication of what is being required of those who seek to follow Jesus. Consider these two statements of Jesus,
He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. (Matthew 10:37)
He who seeks to follow me must take up his cross (put a death to his own agenda) and follow me. (Matthew 16:24)
This is radical. This is not an invitation to join a club, or add some new item or element to your lifestyle. This is an invitation to find life itself. A new life. An authentic life. A life that is reconciled to your creator.
If you become a follower of Jesus, God will not be your co-pilot. He owns the airline. And He owns the airspace in which the plane flies. And becoming His follower requires that you recognize this and organize your life and priorities accordingly. It requires some important decisions.
First, Jesus requires that you repent of your rebellion against God. He requires that you turn from your sinful nature and accept His offer of reconciliation to God. In doing so, you must commit to follow Him, and yield to His will for your life.
He must become the guide and director of your life, of your attitudes and your priorities. When we make that decision, we allow our will to come into alignment with His will. Our entire world-view starts to adjust according to His priorities. The apostle Paul referred to this process as a transformation. He instructs that we (followers of Jesus) should become “transformed by the renewing of our minds” so that we can see God’s will played out in our lives.
And if we are willing to do this, then we get to experience all the benefits that this relationship with God brings.
Following Jesus (or choosing not to follow Jesus) is the most important decision a person will ever make. Not just because it will determine one’s eternal destiny, but also because it defines (or re-defines) one’s identity now.
Yes, Jesus’ offer to follow Him is free to receive, but it will actually cost you everything, in that you have to be willing to lay aside every other priority in your life that would supplant your allegiance to Him.
Following Jesus doesn’t mean that you join a church, that you follow a person or group into strange religious doctrines or that you check your brain at the door. It doesn’t require joining a religious cult. But it does require that you be willing to turn from whatever He calls you away from -- from sinful actions, from unforgiveness that you may be harboring toward someone, or from whatever is not aligned with His will for you.
But whatever you have to leave behind, He will replace with other things – things that are tailor made for you – for what you need. He knows what you need better than you do. And His plans for you are good.
If you want to follow Jesus, you can start right now. You can start by praying a prayer of commitment to Jesus. Something like,
Dear Jesus, I confess my rebellion against you and against God the father, my creator. I renounce my reliance upon myself. I can’t do life on my own anymore, and I don’t want to. I want you to save me, to change me, to adopt me and to bless me. Holy Spirit come and invade my life, every part of me. Rule me today dear God. Today I turn from my sinful ways and commit to follow you in all I do. I know I will make mistakes but from this day forward I trust you to show me how I should live. So take my life and make it all that you want it to be.
If you have sincerely prayed this prayer and meant it, then:
You are now clean. Judicially declared “not guilty.”
You are now forgiven.
Your sin and offenses against God have now already been judged (Jesus took the punishment for you).
You stand righteous before God as if you’ve never sinned.
The Holy Spirit has adopted you.
You are now a new creature in Christ.
This is truly amazing! Truly astounding, isn’t it?
If this is the first time that you have made this decision, you need to tell someone. Call a friend. Someone you trust. Tell them about what you did. This decision to follow Jesus is not merely a private affair. You are a new creature. You have a new nature. You are now
re-born spiritually. Congratulations! Your new adventure begins.
The Bible gives several analogies for someone that has found new life in Jesus. Your new life is like a new seedling plant, or like an infant child that needs acute nourishment and care. So next, you need to get involved with other believers in Jesus in a local church congregation where you can form meaningful relationships with other believers.
Above all, begin reading the Bible. Jesus describes the Bible as the “word of God.” And He likens it to food. He also likens it to water. He said that we literally can't live without it -- that we will starve if we don’t get it. So read it. Memorize it. Devour it. Drink deep. Let it teach you. Let it change you.
If you have prayed this prayer for the first time, then please drop us an email to let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. This link is created just for this purpose. We’ve designed it for one reason -- so that we can know if the Life Lessons are connecting with people. This special link is not like the other links on this website. Email addresses received by this link will not be sent any special offers. We will not ask you for money. We won’t give this list to anyone. And we won’t sell it. In fact, we won’t even attempt to communicate with you through it, other than an automatic response you’ll get to let you know that we have received it. We just want to know if the time and effort we have put into Life Lessons is reaching people. (If you would like to receive communication from us, there are plenty of other links on the page that offer that opportunity. So if you would, please take a moment and visit those links as we want to communicate with you).
Life with Jesus is an adventure. It is the ultimate adventure. As you begin your journey, we wish you every success!
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Life Lessons makes the characters, events and
lessons of scripture understandable to
modern culture. Our goal is to help people
understand God's plan for world redemption as revealed through the Bible.
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