Our society has such a warped version of Christianity. It is so easy to fall into the lie that following Christ is supposed to be easy, comforting, and give you goose-bumps. That isn’t at all what the Bible teaches us. Jesus says that if you want to follow Him, you must be willing to be crucified, literally.
Matthew 16:24-25, “24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
Crucifixion was the worst way to die in the first century. It was torture and complete humiliation. It was a public display for everyone in the city to see. There was no way to hide what you did wrong. In Matthew 16, Jesus is laying down what it takes to be His disciple. He is defining His expectations for those who choose to follow Him. He expects us to let everything go if we have to. He expects us to let go of our dreams, aspirations, jobs, and even friends if we have to. Furthermore, He expects us to let go of our own life if we have to. Even if it might mean torture, death, or carrying our own cross.
In our day, the worst thing a Christian may go through is having to raise their hand in church to accept Jesus as their Savior. There is nothing wrong with that–we do this at my church–however, if they don’t know what Jesus expects of them, they will turn around the moment they feel some heat. When we preach the Gospel to others, we must not be afraid of telling them the cost. We must run from making temporary disciples. John 6:66 describes what temporary disciples look like, “After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.”
People today need to see more Christians who are willing to give up everything for faith in Jesus. People in our world are seeking something to live for but they also desire something to die for. Their video games, jobs, social profiles, and dating life is nothing really worth living for. Give them Jesus and tell them why it’s worth giving everything up for Him.
If you want to read some great books on this subject, check out some books I have on it below.