Do you have the courage to follow Jesus Christ?
When Christians say they are Jesus’ disciples, it means they are his students. They learn from him and practice lessons that come from him.
This means practicing those lessons that contradict society’s ways.
Jesus talks about the love of money being the root of all evil. How much do you love money? Do you pursue it with a vengeance to the detriment of other obligations?
The Bible teaches that everyone is created in God’s image, that everyone is equal in God’s sight. As a student of Jesus Christ, do you think you are better than some people — or many people? Do you think there are persons or groups of persons that are inferior… different nationalities, different skin colors, different ways of interpreting the scriptures? Do you carry any prejudices, whether it is about race or economic status?
Jesus teaches that Sabbath rest is important. He practiced this himself by spending time alone to pray and have focused time with God. Do you practice Sabbath rest, or are you active seven days a week? Do you declare that you deserve to have fun, and by so doing have no thought for your relationship with God?
Jesus teaches that we must stand firm in our conviction of him. He says to let our yes be yes and our no be no.
How well do you do with this?
Jesus says we must not commit adultery — as it says in the Ten Commandments — but he takes it farther. He says that if anyone looks at another with lust, adultery has already been committed in their heart.
Have you committed adultery in your heart?
Jesus calls his followers salt and light. Salt brings out the flavor in foods and was used as a preservative. Jesus’ disciples should help add richness to life and share the Gospel. As light, his disciples should be beacons of hope, expectation, joy, love, grace and forgiveness.
Do you represent these traits?
Many pastors today try to convey that it’s easy to follow Jesus. I have occasionally been guilty of this. But being a Christian — a disciple of Jesus Christ — is not easy! It is challenging because Jesus’ teachings, and the call for disciples to follow and live those teachings, go against everything the world says is OK.
So, I’ll ask again: Do you have the courage to follow Jesus? Being a Christian is not for sissies. It is not for the faint of heart. It is not for those who would be wishy-washy when confronted by challenges.
Being a Christian means taking a stand for Jesus Christ, every moment of every day.
The Rev. Mark Broadhead is Laurel Hill Presbyterian Church and First Presbyterian Church of Crestview’s pastor.