When we choose to follow Christ, we agree to surrender everything to Him. We, in effect, become His slave or His prisoner. This is not a negative, not slavery in the traditional sense, but it does mean that every move we make is now dedicated to God. We were given the gift of freewill at creation; when we make the decision to follow Jesus we are giving that freewill back to Him and letting Him know that we willingly submit to His plans and His desires for our lives. From this point forward everything we do will be a result of His will. We are captivated by His love, indeed captive to His love. It is in this way that we become His prisoner.
Archives for April 2014
I have been neglecting Jesus in areas of my life. My own selfishness has been getting in the way. These are not joyful realizations or comfortable words to share, but they are the truth. It is so easy to be self-absorbed within our own lives. Seeking Jesus first is more than getting up early to read the Bible and pray. It’s a life- long commitment to the way we live every second of every minute of our lives. Everything we think, say, and do must be done within the framework of serving and honoring Jesus. There is nothing we possess – be it material goods or personal skills – that did not come from God. He gave us everything. The only way to honor such immense blessings is to give them all back to Him.
At the time this article is being published, it is the day after Easter. Easter is my favorite day of the year, and arguably should be so for all followers of Jesus. Certainly Christmas is important. If Christ had never been born, He could never have died, and therefore never have risen again to defeat death and save us all. But the last part – rising again and defeating death – is the entire reason we follow Him. Plenty of important and influential men have been born throughout history. Some have even died standing up for that which they believed. But only one ever rose from the dead.
Good Friday is the most solemn day of the year. It is the day we remember the crucifixion of Jesus. While the event was necessary to prove the power of Christ over death and ultimately resulted in His resurrection, there is still no more ominous moment in history. Never before, never since, and never again will such a tragedy occur. We remember this day because the very creation of God, acting in the freewill given to them by their Creator, nailed His Son to a cross and watched Him die. Jesus willingly allowed them to take His life from Him so that He might be the salvation of us all.
We are not enslaved by Satan, but rather by ourselves. It is our own selfish and carnal nature that stands between surrendering our lives fully to Christ. Satan cannot force us to sin or disobey. But we ourselves, as agents of freewill, have the ability to choose between obedience and disobedience; between life and death. Blaming the devil for our lack of commitment is an easy excuse for our own lack of devotion and self-discipline. Jesus instructed us to take up our cross daily (Matthew 16:24-26) because He knew we would battle our selfish desires each day, and so each day we would need to place our old cravings on the cross and kill them. We truly must crucify the old man. It isn’t just an analogy. Each day we must decide whether our selfish desires will live, or if instead we will crucify them so that we might live in Christ.