I heard that question recently in an interview I was listening to, and it caught my attention. The speaker went on to say that the way to know the difference was if you were willing to suffer for Christ. An admirer admires Jesus but a disciple follows Him, obeys Him and is willing to suffer or die for the sake of Christ.
I think it’s a timely thought given the world we are living in now. We are seeing more persecution of Christians, not just in other countries but also starting to see glimpse of it in our own country.
To follow Jesus and the Word of God means that we don’t pick and choose which part of the Bible we trust, believe and obey. It means that we follow it all. And that’s not popular in a society that says, “if it feels good, do it” and “you do you boo”.
God’s word and His commands aren’t to take the fun out of life, they are to guide us and protect us from so much harm and heartache. There is a reason for them. God is a loving Father that does not want us to experience unnecessary heartache and heart break. That goes for sex outside of marriage because the we give part of ourselves away to another person and if we are not in a covenant relationship with them through marriage, there will be an emptiness, a conviction and many times regret that comes from that encounter. God isn’t saying no to sex. He is saying no to the heartache and pain that comes from sex outside of marriage.
The same is true of envy. He wants us to find contentment in what we have and more importantly in Him. As I tell my kids, there will always be someone with a bigger house, a better car, a nicer body and a more beautiful face, but what matters more than any of that is our hearts. Are our hearts pure before the Lord and do we find contentment in Him – the provider of all of our needs?
What about our thoughts? I would guess that the majority of us struggle with our thoughts – whether that be what we dwell on, what we lust after, how we judge others, what we watch in movies and on TV and so on. That’s why the scriptures say, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8
If you are filling your mind with trash, you are going to dwell on trash – and that includes the movies we watch, the music we listen to and the language we use. Am I perfect in all of the above? Ha! Far, far from it. I struggle too but I am so thankful for a loving God who tenderly convicts me when I stray into an area that will cause me and my heart harm.
He is for us and He is worth being a disciple of that is willing to lay his life down. I want to be a disciple of Christ, not just an admirer. How about you?