What is your motivation? Why do you do what you do? As followers of Christ, our answer to those questions must simply be ‘Jesus’. Any other answer is unacceptable. If any part of us seeks to glorify ourselves, we cannot call ourselves a follower of Jesus. Following Christ is all or nothing. We must give everything we have for Him or it simply isn’t going to be enough. Can you say that in the depths of your heart, even when you falter, your one goal is to love God and follow the way of His Son?
If you can answer yes to the question above, welcome to the greatest adventure. But before we embark, let’s make sure we’re being honest with ourselves. Two simple tests will determine if we are indeed who we say we are.
The checkbook test: The first test is to take a look at your checkbook. Where are you spending your money? If you are spending more money on entertainment and comfort items than you are investing on building the kingdom, you cannot honestly call yourself a follower of Christ. Followers of Christ are generous with their money and think more of others than themselves. How can we say we care about the poor and homeless when we live in homes with four flat screen televisions and three cars? It makes no sense. This is why Jesus said it was so hard for a rich person to enter heaven (Mark 10:17-31). Sometimes when we have a lot, we forget our responsibility is to give even more. If we can’t honor God with our finances, we can’t honor Him with our life.
The time diary test: For two weeks, keep a time diary, a journal of how you spend your time. Record, in thirty minute intervals, how you spend your time. Feel free to adjust the time interval to suit your personality; but recording shorter intervals can be tedious, leading to frustration and eventually giving up. Recording in longer intervals pretty much guarantees you will lose details and leave out some forgotten items. At the end of your two weeks, add it all up and see where you are spending the majority of your time. How does God rank? Where do you spend more time, with God or with your television? Do you spend as much time helping others as you do playing video games or playing sports? Do you spend more time eating than feeding others? Remember, following Jesus means sacrificially giving up our lives to love and serve others. How does Jesus rank in your time diary?
If you failed either test (or even both), there is good news. First, the very fact that you took the time to examine your life proves you have a strong desire to live your life as a true follower of Christ. Second, it’s not too late to make the changes necessary to pass both of the above tests. Do you want to be a true follower of Jesus? It’s within your power. Love God and pray for His power in your life to help you live it in a manner pleasing to Him. Then, make the change. Don’t wait, don’t put it off. You only get one shot at living this life. Make sure you live it as a follower of Jesus.