This singer/evangelist explained that when addressing his concert audiences, he always referred to himself as a "follower of Jesus" rather than a "Christian." His reason: "Too many people claim to be Christians when they have no intention of following Jesus." Rather than inviting people to "accept Jesus," he explained the cost of discipleship and challenged his audiencce to become His followers for life.
I think this guy pretty well captured the essence of Christianity. It is much more than a "decision for Christ" or a "born-again" religious experience. As good as they may be, decisions and experiences are only starting points. What we do rest of our lives determines the validity of our decision or experience.
Christianity always has been and always will be about following Jesus. While it begins with an experience, it continues for a lifetime. It requires that we pick up a cross, and follow Him everyday.
So many of today's "Christians" seem to be following everybody but Jesus. Some are following a boyfriend or a girlfriend and end up in church Sunday after Sunday. Others follow famous ministers and miracle workers, and end up in countless "healing/miracle crusades." In the book of Acts the signs followed the believers. Today the believers follow signs, from meeting to meeting.
The following are three basic requirements for those who would be true followers of Jesus.
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? (Luke 14:28).
Carry the Cross
And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:27).
No one should follow Jesus empty-handed. Every follower should have his cross in hand at all times. And what do you suppose that cross is for? Two thousand years ago crosses were used to kill people, not to decorate earlobes. In other words, cross-carrying implies self-denial and self-sacrifice. Furthermore, cross-carrying is for every Christian, not just missionaries and "committed Christians."
These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they kept themselves pure. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among men and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb. (Revelation 14:4).
We live in a day when Jesus is calling multitudes of men, women and children to be his followers-just like He did two thousand years ago. Some will literally follow Him to the ends of the earth. Others will follow Him into new careers and businesses. There is no limit to the great things God will do in, for and through those who will simply and sincerely count the cost, carry the cross, and follow Jesus wherever He goes!
How about you? Have you counted the cost? Are you carrying your cross? Will you follow Jesus anywhere? If, so then you are in for the adventure of your life! This, my friends, is real Christianity.