What does it mean to follow Christ? I've been reading a book called "Radical" by David Platt. It's an interesting read but every so often I have to put it down because of the implications that it has for my life. I was reading it a couple of weeks ago and a thought crossed my mind. A terrifying thought.
Now let me disclaim something before I tell you the thought. I am NOT suggesting this. I don't think this is what God is telling me I should do. I'm a pastor and so this thought scared me personally.
In the book, Platt mentions that often times in church we tend to create God in our image and worship Him that way. I started to think about my life. Do I transform God into something that He is not? How about the programs that the student ministries have? Do they create a box that tries to fit God instead of following Him?
Sometimes, I follow thoughts for a long time. I think that's what happened here. I ended up at the following.
Are we serious about following God in everything that we do? I mean everything. Would we follow God even if it meant giving up something that we lived for? What if God told us that He wanted us to close our church and make disciples elsewhere? Would we do it?
That thought crushed me. No way. Look at all of the things that we are doing FOR GOD! Look at all of the good things that we are doing.
But God doesn't just want good things....God wants US. He tells a rich man to give up everything he has. He tells someone to forget about burying his dead father.. He tells someone else that following him might mean hating his family. Ouch. Following Christ is not pretty, or easy for that matter.
I once heard Phil Vischer speak at a conference. He is the creator of Veggie Tales. He tells a similar story of how he followed Veggie Tales more than he followed God. Veggie Tales was later sold into bankruptcy after being sued by someone. Vischer talked about having to realize that even though he was doing good, he wasn't putting God first. A tough lesson to say the least.
What does it mean to follow Christ? It means being willing to give up everything. Even if that everything is something that is good. Even if it's a Bible study, a youth ministry, an older adult program, a choir, a Sunday school class, VBS, or the most popular animated series of all time.
Being a pastor, this thought scares me. I mean that's my livelihood. It's how I feed and shelter my family. But that thought also encourages me to seek God in every part of my life. I know and trust that God will take care of me. I also trust that the best place for me to be is right in the center of His will.
Again, I'm not suggesting that you do this. (unless God tells you of course). What I am suggesting is that we need to evaluate how serious we take the title, "Christ Follower". Are you ready to take on all that it means to follow Him?