Bob Mayo, Stonepoint Member
I have been reading a book for a small group that I am involved with. It’s a good book that talks about the difference between just knowing about Christ and really following him. Coupled with that, I have been doing some Bible study in the Minor Prophets. That has been totally eye opening for me. In the book I’m reading, there is a quote (several, actually) that really spoke to me: “So in case someone left it out or forgot to mention it when they explained what it meant to be a Christian, let me be clear: There is no forgiveness without repentance. There is no salvation without surrender. There is no life without death. There is no believing without committing.”
In my study of the Minor Prophets (Amos, Obadiah and Micah so far), I have seen that the lifestyle of the Jewish people brought severe judgment on them. They would sometime go through the rituals, but their hearts were not really worshiping God. There was rampant sin in some cases. Two in particular brought out in the Book of Micah were covetousness and listening to false prophets. The sin of covetousness caused the rich to rob from the poor because they coveted their land. The people would also listen to prophets that promised peace and safety and ignore God’s true prophets who truthfully warned them about judgment. The final result was that both the Northern kingdom of Israel and the Southern kingdom of Judah were eventually destroyed and carried off into captivity. But in the light of God judging His people for their sin, He always left them hope of deliverance. The Jews are God’s chosen people and He will always save a ‘remnant.’ One commentator wrote: “The ‘remnant’ is a very important doctrine in the prophetic books, and there are many references to it. Though the nation of Israel might rebel against God, there would always be a faithful remnant that would trust Him and seek to do His will, and God would work because of the faith of the remnant. (This is also true of the professing church).) The hope of the nation lies in the remnant.”
What does all this mean? For me it has made me search my heart. I ask myself, am I truly a Christ follower? Or am I just going along with the crowd. Pastor Brandon once made a point in a message that has never left me. He said something like, “What two words would people say about you. If it is anything but “Christ follower,” we are not ready to meet the Lord.”
I don’t know about you, but my heart aches to be a true “Christ follower.” God isn’t interested in crowds. He is interested in the few who will be committed to following Him. But I have learned that this must come from the inside, from the heart. I do not want to be one who goes through the motions. But there are times that is just how I feel, that I am just going through the motions. I have no plan to make myself a better Christ follower, other than to rely on the Holy Spirit who lives in me (and you, if you are a Christian) to be such a follower. Trying to do this in the flesh will only result in discouragement and frustration. May we throw off our love of self, the world and even our love of our own lives. It will require repentance, surrender, death to self and commitment. Jesus told us that those who follow Him must travel a narrow road. But for us it is the only road. May we have the faith to take this step and allow the Holy Spirit to work in us to follow Christ with all our hearts. And may God strengthen us to make this choice to walk the narrow road! I believe that only by this, can we be part of the remnant that will hear those words we all long to hear: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” God bless you!