“Sacrifice and offering you did not desire—
but my ears you have opened—
burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require.
Then I said, “Here I am, I have come—
it is written about me in the scroll.
I desire to do your will, my God;
your law is within my heart.”
Here we are in the 3rd week of our question, “Who am I in Christ?”
Today, I invite you to consider the following question, “Am I a Christian, or a Christ follower?”
They are the same, you might say. However, I have both witnessed in our culture, and found in my own life, that they are not.
First let us look at our cultural context. What does it mean to be a Christian in our nation, our state, and even our neighborhoods? If we were to take a poll, we would receive many answers. Some might include:
- Someone who attends church regularly
- An honest, moral and decent person
- A judgmental person with little tolerance for different people
- Someone who serves the poor and least of these
- Someone who prays a lot
- Add your own definition here
To be honest, in my quest to be a “good Christian,” I have been all the above, and more. And I believe that being a Christ follower will include these activities too (except for #3.) However, in my own experience, I have found that being a follower is so much more than just doing the “right things.”
True Christ followers are marked by a state of being, not doing. True followers exist in such a way that they are completely surrendered to the will of Christ everyday. They are worshipers. They are seekers of His Divine presence in all circumstances. They get up every day and say, “Not my will, but Yours be done, Lord.”
True Christ followers lay their ambitions aside in order to advance the kingdom agenda, not their own. True followers say, “Here I am, Lord. Use me.” even in the midst of challenge and sacrifice. These are the faithful that lay everything they have at the feet of Jesus and say, “take it and use it as You will.”
Can you see the difference? Me too, glaringly.
See, I know people like this. I have seen how they live, and I can assure you, I have a long way to go. I have my moments when I give it all up to God and really seek His will for my life. But they are few and far between. Most days I am wrapped up in my plans and my wants, and I don’t give much thought to what He wants from me.
But I want to do better. I don’t want to get to heaven and hear Him say in a disappointed voice, “Lana, you could have done so much better.” Or even worse, “I don’t I know you.”
However, I know myself well enough to know that I can’t do this alone. It is far too easy to make excuses and pretend that I am doing ok if no one else is watching. That is why I am so thankful for my small group. If I ask these folks to keep me accountable, then they surely will. And I need that in my life.
What about the rest of us? How do the rest of the folks in our community here stay on the right track? I would love to hear your answers.
My Lord and My God,
You are unchanging and Your love for me never fails. How is that? When I fail You so regularly? I thank You for Your grace and mercy toward me. And I ask today that You would continue to work with me. Create in me a burning desire to be a true Christ follower. Give me the strength and presence of mind to follow through on it. Do not let me be satisfied with a hollow religion, filled with activities, but lacking true intimacy with You. Draw me closer to You, my King.
In the name of the Good Shepherd I pray,