May 14, 2008, 6:17 AM
Jesus in his true teachings declares, “If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Mat. 16:24). This declaration is straight forward and bears no compromise because to follow Jesus means to pass through what he passed through.It also means to go through suffering and then take on the glory in the resurrection.
The reason why the effect of the presence of Jesus is not being felt today in our world is not because Jesus is less presented today.The reason is because there are Christians today who through their lives of witness are supposed to mediate the presence of Jesus but they simply refuse to pay the price.They are willing to shout Jesus’ name but when little challenges or persecution comes they turn their backs or run away to that which is easier to follow.The cost of being a true or good Christian is too much for them.
A certain preacher once said that he could not admit that Christianity has failed the world, because the world has not changed since the emergence of Christianity.He rather pointed out that Christianity has not failed the world but it is the world that has failed Christianity.The reason he gave for his statement was that the world like many uncommitted Christians has seen Christianity as a difficult religion to follow and practice and so desert it for an easier and compromising religion or way of life.It is therefore not a question of Christianity not being able to transform the world but rather a question of Christianity which alone could transform the world having not being practiced.The cost of being a good Christian is high but it is worth it.
Those who are called to discipleship are those that Jesus wants to join him in paying an immense price for a great value which is at stake, i.e. the salvation of all people.So it is a deep and solid faith that we need in order to achieve the nature of being a true or real disciple of Jesus Christ.
It is because we are not ready to be inconvenienced in following Jesus that we do not want to see God’s own purposed realized.For some people if their clothes are dirty or they don’t have new clothes, they would not go to church to worship.Others they renounce their Christian commitment to Jesus for the sake of having a job, a husband or wife to marry.There are those that ignorance is the sole reason why they leave their church.They follow other people who convince them only through talking.
The question that Jesus raised to his disciples need to be revisited:“What then will a man gain if he wins the whole world and ruins his life or what has a man to offer in exchange for his life” (Mathew 16:16).There was one little admonition that I once received and that is whatever you are and wherever you belong if you reject it then it means there is something not worth while about it.Therefore if a Christian is committed and truly knows the value of his or her faith in Jesus Christ, then God’s purpose will be realized in him.There will be also an assurance of life eternal and salvation in heaven for the committed disciple and true Christian (Matt. 16:19).