First, let's examine why someone may want to label themselves as a Christian in America.
Appearance: to look good. It's nice to own a cloak of self-righteousness that can be donned on Sunday morning only to be removed afterward and hung again in the closet.
Convenience: The cloak's usually only worn at the convenience of the wearer, or when it's advantageous either for him or those around him.
But do you know or remember how Jesus Christ told the disciples they needed to follow Him? It wasn't for appearances or convenience sake. If they followed Him, it would mean leaving everything they had behind. It meant leaving everything they knew, including themselves.
Luke 9:23 "And He was saying to them all, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me."
photo by dollarphoto.com
What does it mean to deny yourself? To take up your cross?
Well, for me, it meant looking in the mirror and saying I'm not the perfect girl I pretend to be. That wishing for death every day wasn't my only option and I actually had a God who loved me.
It meant coming to an awful conclusion though. I was a sinner and didn't deserve my dreams. But on the flip side of that coin, God was an amazing God. He was perfect in every single way and He did deserve my dreams. He showed me that no matter how imperfect I may be, He died for me anyway.
And that gave me hope. No matter how much I wanted to make my hopes and dreams come true, I couldn't. But He could.
He also told me I had a job to do on this planet. You see, He came to this crazy place to save people. My job? Tell people about it.
photo by Renee Blare
If you're wondering about the "cross" part, that's it. If you think being a Christian in this world is about appearances and convenience, you're sorely mistaken. It's not a cloak to wear whenever I choose. Jesus Christ died on a cross, and now, He commands us to take up our "cross" and follow Him.
Does that mean that we must die like He did...in agony? I sincerely hope not, although there are Christians around the world that are doing exactly that. Yes, you heard me. If you don't believe me, Google it. The time is coming that being a Christian will mean death...everywhere. Don't buy it? Read Revelation.
All I'm saying is, if you are calling yourself a Christian because it's the cool thing to do or it's convenient, you may want to pick up your Bible and read it. God doesn't do things for "appearance-sake" or "convenience," but because He expects people to live according to His will.
In other words, God doesn't change. He's the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. So, if you aren't living one-hundred percent for Him and yes, that means denying yourself, picking up your cross, and following Him, then you have a problem.
And saying that God is the judge of what you do or don't do? Well, yes, He is. I only have one reply to that. Do you really want to wait until Judgment Day to find out what He's going to say?
Please don't wait until that day! Jesus wants you to come to Him today. He is waiting. He is an awesome Friend, but more than that, He will show you so much more. He will lift your mind, your heart, and soul to a new place. Don't wait for God is good, all the time.
John 8:12 Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, "I am the Light of the world, he who follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the Light of life."