- Following Christ requires that you daily submit every single area of your life (your mind or heart, your decisions and desires, your worries and cares, your past, present and future) to His Lordship (His Word, will and way) and the justice He requires for your sin, so that it will count for His Kingdom (Mat 16:24 -“deny himself” = The removal of ourselves as the authority/boss over our lives ;“take up his cross” = The execution of ourselves upon our personal cross [Notice, “his cross”] is also necessary to following Jesus. Crosses were devices used by the Romans to punish law-breakers and rebels. As such, this phrase refers to a person’s actions in removing the sin and rebellion in our lives – through the justice required per God’s Law; Mat 6:19-34 = Investment, Loyalty and Focus; Mat 13:44-46; Mat 25:14-34; For “non-refundable” see Luk 9:62; “daily” see Luk 9:23).
- Following Christ is the only way to be saved and live without regret (Mat 16:25-27; Jos 23:14) .
- Those who only submit a portion of their life to following Christ (His Lordship and justice), will be damned as though they gave nothing at all (Mat 16:25 – “Whoever would save his life…will lose it”; Luk 14:33; all in or not in at all).
- Following Christ is a nonrefundable commitment (Luk 9:62).
- Clear indicators that you are not following Christ but still a rebel/law-breaker:
5.1. You continue to practice, hide or justify your sin (A denial of Mat 16:24 – “take up his cross”; Mat 7:23; Mat 13:41 – “gather out of His kingdom all causes of sin and law-breakers”)
5.2. You have selective obedience (Mat 7)
5.3. Jesus’ commands are burdensome to you (1Jo 5:3; Obedience, evangelism and shepherding are done primarily for the purpose of plausible deniability versus real desire and joy)
5.4. You demonstrate greater boldness, interest, passion and loyalty for something other than the things of God, people of God or for God Himself (i.e. you have given your life to something else/above God – you are guilty of idolatry or breaking of the first commandment [Exo 20:3] – All Jesus is requiring OF those who would follow Him is the fulfillment of this command: that they have no other gods before Him [god = where you go/what you look to for life to be good- Deu 30:20]; Jos 24:19-25; e.g. Rock-stars or Rock bands, Professional athletes or sports, Cars or Comics, Money or Career; Mat 16:21-23; Mat 6:24; 1Jo 2:19; Col 3:1-6; 2Co 10:5).
- The are no valid excuses for not following Christ – only admissions of rebellious unbelief (Rom 1:20, 4:20; Heb 3:19).
- Count the cost, otherwise you will only be under the delusion you are following Christ and fail to reach heaven (Luk 14:25-35; e.g. Mat 7:21-23).
- Repentance (confession, change, conformity) and belief is how you fix a life that doesn’t follow Christ (Mar 1:15).