If there is one thing that a follower of Jesus should remember, it is that He never promised us an easy life. He said, ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.’ 1 That means that I need to choose whether I am willing to follow in His footsteps.’ 2
Followers of Jesus are often worn down by the constant bombardment of anti-God propaganda from evolution, atheism, wrong theology and self indulgence. The Christian life has become a veritable minefield. In church, where the followers of Christ are supposed to find rest for their weary souls, the devil lurks behind the pew. He is ready to pounce on the unsuspecting laity. The number of preachers and theologians who still ardently believe the Gospel and the plan of God, is shrinking daily. What is God’s plan?
# 1. This earth is only temporary. It is where God sifts the citizens for ‘the new heavens and the new earth.’ 3 Earth will be God’s headquarters in the age to come.
# 2. The message of the Bible is to get us from here (on the present earth) to there (the new heavens and earth). The Old Testament proved that people cannot obey God. From Adam and Eve to the Israelite nation, it was one failure after the other. God knew it in advance, and that is where Jesus fits in. Jesus wipes our ‘criminal’ record clean. That prepares the way for the Holy Spirit to live inside us. He teaches and helps us to listen to God (through Scripture) and obey Him.
# 3. In this life we decide our eternal destination. If we live as if there is no God, we continue under this system where ‘the whole world is under the control of the evil one.’ 4 That will cause us to land in ‘the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.’ 5 We need to choose God, submit ourselves to Him and accept His plan to save us from that terrible future.
# 4. The concrete principle. What we are here, we will be there. One cannot merely accept Jesus and your ticket to heaven is punched. Jesus taught “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say [through the Holy Spirit]?” 6 Obedience is equal to love for God. 7
Why is the road for a follower of Jesus ‘narrow?’ Because what is waiting is far more than we can ever imagine or dream of. God wants to make sure that we will be loyal for all eternity; that nobody will attempt to usurp His throne there. He wants us to persevere, so ‘do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.’ 7 Glorious times are coming!
- Luke 9:23
- Luke 22:42b
- Revelation 21:1, Isaiah 66:22
- 1 John 5:19b
- Matthew 25:41
- Luke 6:46
- Hebrew 10:35