Now let's put this all into perspective...
In my soon to be released book, "But is it Biblical?", I detail the fact that MOST people who call themselves "Christian" will find themselves victims of Matthew 7:23. Not because they "did something wrong", but because they didn't do something "right"! God tells us to put Him FIRST in all things (Luke 14:26-33).
So let's start here, Jesus says that there are things you must do in order to be His disciple, they are:
- To hate your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also
- Anyone who bears his cross and comes after Him
- Whoever of you does not forsake all that he has
Do you see what Jesus is saying there? The first thing He's saying, is that you should "hate everything in comparison to how much you love Him", up to AND INCLUDING your own life! Think that's a little harsh? Then maybe you should think about what it says in 1 Corinthians 6:19. Paul says that "your life is not your own" and that "you were bought at a price"! If you don't "feel this way", then you are NOT His disciple.
Next, He's saying that you should "bear your cross and come after Him". What does that MEAN? Does it mean you should be "hung on a cross"? NO! It means that if you've taken the time and cared about what's contained in God's Word, you'd know that there are only 3 places IN ALL OF SCRIPTURE that mention the word "Christian". Twice it's used in passing, the last time, it's used to indicate SUFFERING (1 Peter 4:16). So if you believe that God wants all Christians to be rich, happy, joyous and overflowing at the seams with material possessions, then perhaps it's time to get back to "The Book"... If you're not ready willing and able to "BEAR THAT CROSS" and "come after Him", then you are NOT His disciple.
Finally, Jesus says, "Whoever of you does not forsake all that he has". Well what does that mean? Does it mean to "give away all of your possessions"? Not really. Does it mean that you "shouldn't have any possessions"? No, not really. What Jesus is saying here, is that "you should be WILLING TO give up everything, including family, friends AND your possessions, in order to "bare your cross and come after Him". How will you be able to "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature", if you're not willing to leave it all behind? What's wrong, feel that's too much to ask of anyone? Again, if you're not willing to "forsake all", then you're NOT His disciple.
Okay, so now that some of you have had an embolism from what I just wrote, allow me to pose a question. Jesus never mentions "becoming a Christian", He talks about "being His disciple". Instead of concerning yourself with discipleship, you've instead concerned yourself with "taking His name upon yourself and calling yourself a "CHRIST-ian".
So the question I would ask you, is this: If the only inward or outward sign about your relationship with the LIVING GOD is to "use His name in vain", then what kind of disciple are you? Do you find yourself in line with those bullet-points from above? If you do, then that's great, but more than 90% of you reading this will not.
** Please let me be clear... I am NOT talking about "Salvation", which is clearly a FREE GIFT from God (Romans 5:12-21). I'm only speaking about Discipleship and the "claim of being a Christian". **
** Also, let me clear up one more thing... There is nothing you can DO, in order to EARN your way into Heaven. God does not want you to leave your families, friends, jobs, etc. The point of what I'm saying is about having that intense, overwhelming LEADING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, with that desire in your heart to FOLLOW HIM! (Matthew 4:19, Matthew 8:22, Matthew 16:24, Matthew 19:21, Mark 2:14, Mark 10:21, John 1:43, John 10:27, John 12:26 & MORE **
So now the question is, "If I'm not a disciple of Jesus, then what am I?" Now THAT'S a great question!
Allow me to offer you a couple of suggestions, as to what "title" you should give yourself...
- Let's say something is BLUE, but it's not "perfectly blue", you'd call it "BLUE-ish". Maybe you should call yourself "CHRIST-ish"?
- Let's say that you're traveling NORTH, but not "perfectly north", you'd say you were going in a "NORTH-erly" direction. So maybe calling yourself "CHRIST-erly" is for you?
- What if you were trying to describe something that was PINK, but not "purely PINK"? Perhaps you could describe it as "PINK-ey". You might call yourself "CHRIST-ey"?
Are you seeing what I'm trying to tell you here? I'm trying to show you that by calling yourself something that you're not, YOU ARE GIVING CHRISTIANS EVERYWHERE A BAD NAME! The only good news here, is that God said that you would be responsible for this! (Luke 21:17)
So are "CHRIST-ians" the majority within the USA? NO WAY. How do I know? Great question!
Not only did Jesus detail who is and isn't a "disciple", but God goes out of His way to help US figure it out, all through the Bible.
Here are a few examples to get you started:
2 Corinthians 11:3-4
1 Corinthians 11:27-34
1 Corinthians 15:1-4
2 Corinthians 13:5
1 John 2:24
Like I said, these are only a FEW of the HUNDREDS of things that are literally spread out all over the Bible! God gave us every ability to be able to tell who is and who isn't. And it's even more exciting to know, that God even gave us the ability to determine if WE ourselves are disciples or not.
So what do ya think? Are you CHRIST-ey, CHRIST-erly or are you a bit CHRIST-ish? Either way, like I say throughout my discipleship radio series, "90% of the people who think they're Christians are going to be pretty shocked when they stand before God and He tells them, "I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!"...
Are you really denying yourself?
Are you really hating yourself?
Are you really ready to leave it all behind?
Are you really putting God first in all things?
Are you really up for being an actual disciple of Jesus?
I'm betting you're probably not, but I'm hoping and praying with every ounce of my being that you are!