My buddy Tom is half my age. Proud and pound for pound one of the best basketball player I ever seen, this twenty one year old kid has his whole life ahead of him. I can’t help but see myself in him every time run into him at the local park. I only go out once a week and play until cramps force me to call it a night.
This past Friday was slightly different. We usually get a turnout of 15-20 guys and play pickup ball but because of a local college basketball game that night, it was only Tom and I. So we shot around and talked about our lives, about families and about our relationship with God.
As Tom shared his testimony, a part of me greatly envied the fact he was so young yet already gifted with a certain level of spiritual wisdom. He clearly has God in his heart. In a world dominated by sin, Tom is drug free, does not consume alcohol and is even is a virgin. He lives with his mother who’s recovering from surgery and works with his brother doing construction and learning the ropes of the real estate industry.
At exactly the same age, I had already lost my virginity, had long moved out on my own and was busy experimenting with booze and the occult. Needless to say I was not born again or had a relationship with Christ. I was in complete darkness.
Today at age 40, I am a completely different person. As I shared with Tom, I never imagined I would turn out to be a minister of God. I often get choked up when sharing my testimony seeing how I spent the first 35 years of my life doing the devil’s work rather than God’s. In most cases, people try comfort me telling me it was God’s way of preparing me for my mission. Though that theory is starting to sink in, I can’t help but wish things had been different for me. How great it must be to grow up in God’s light. How great it will be for my daughter Grace!
But for me, being born again is not enough. Believing that Jesus Christ died so we could live, understanding the concept of Christianity is not enough. I am greatly troubled by people who claim they have a relationship with Christ yet have no works to show for or worse yet, no intention to follow in Jesus’ footsteps.
To be born again is only the beginning. For those who truly seek a relationships with Jesus Christ, this spiritual rebirth becomes the fuel that will propel our hearts to imitate Jesus allowing God to live through us. Since Jesus gave up His body, true believers must let Him use ours to fulfill His plan for our lives.
“The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.” (John 12:23-26)
Much like numerous other luke warm believers, Tom has not fully given his life to Jesus, a typical case of spiritual immaturity. It is a fact many Christians are involved in double lives, sitting in church on Sunday yet caught up in worldly things the rest of the week.
Following in Jesus’ footsteps in not to be taken lightly. Instead, it is a way of life, for life. In a world ruled by evil, being Christian often involves rejection, persecution and even suffering. Jesus told a parable which explains exactly that:
“Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’ “Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple. “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out. “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” (Luke 14:25-35)
I invite you to let your light shine allowing all those around you to see God through you. As Christians, we must shine from within as we grow spiritually. “No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead he puts it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light. Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are good, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are bad, your body also is full of darkness.” (Luke 11:33-34)
Are your eyes good? Could you be mistaken for Christ or at least for a Christian? Are you imitating Jesus in all you do or allowing God to work through you? If you answered yes then the spirit is in you otherwise, you must surrender your life to Christ and let Him use you.
Through mission work either locally or abroad, by witnessing to others and sharing your testimony or simply by volunteering at church, you ARE offering yourselves as living sacrifices and stand to reap eternal rewards for your works. Can’t think of ways to serve? Call on us with any question you have about surrendering yourself to Christ, we’ll be glad to provide direction and prayer.
We thank you for this day
For looking after us, our families and friends,
We thank you for providing for us
Like only you can.
Lord we ask you to strengthen us each day
And to put us to work for you
Allowing us to spread your light
To those who live in darkness.
God we pray that you will continue to bless us
And answer our prayers
Giving us all that we need
Rather than what we want.
May your will be done
In our lives, for your life.
We thank you for your love and all that surrounds us!
This message was written by Daniel St.Pierre