I spend most of my life talking to people about following Jesus so I get asked a lot of questions about what that means.

Do I have to start going to church?

How much of my lifestyle has to change?

Am I going to be asked for money?

What do I have to do?

What do I have to give up?

What do I have to believe?

The problem with all these questions is that they are addressing the wrong subject. They are about you, not Jesus. So I often respond by apologizing for not explaining the story of Jesus better. If you believe in Jesus, the response is never about what you have to do, how much time or money is involved, or what behaviors are allowed.

The key words for following Jesus are things like “deny yourself”, “die with Jesus”, “being crucified with Christ”. These words are about complete and total surrender to the call of Jesus. There is no bare minimum standard of behavior. There is no set of steps to complete. Nor is faith measured by a percentage of belief in certain facts. There is only surrender of your body, mind, soul, and heart to Jesus.

Saying yes to Jesus starts with saying no to yourself.
Some have asked at this point — “But don’t I have to get baptized. Isn’t that an act or a step?” No, it is not. The language of Scripture about baptism is the language of faith, death, and resurrection.

So if you want to follow Jesus, there is just one decision. Do you believe in Jesus, or do you not? If you do, then say no to yourself, die with Jesus, and be raised to a new life following him with all of your heart. Anything short of that and you are missing the truth about Jesus.

I would love to visit more with you about surrendering your life to Jesus. Write to me at steve@hopeforlife.org or visit our HopeForLife.org website.

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