Faith Without Following...Christ Without a Cross
Updated: Mar 9, 2019
“Society’s problems are not society’s problems. They are the Church’s problems. They are our problems.”
- Tony Evans
We claim we have faith yet we don't follow God's commands because subconsciously, we trust our own plans more than we trust His.
We claim to be of the Faith yet don't follow Christ's example, we rather do our own thing.
We claim to be disciples of Christ but we have yet to pick up our cross and follow.
It's more than just belief...it's more than just faith in Who Christ Is...
Even demons believe, but they don't revere and follow...We must have faith to pick up our cross and follow even when it is not comfortable...how else can we truly be called disciples?
We can't have faith without following nor can we have Christ without the cross.
“If you refuse to take up your cross and follow Me, you are not worthy of being Mine.”
Matthew 10:38 NLT
Being raised by a mother who is an ordained preacher and all about outreach, I grew up experiencing God’s Love being shown to people who had never heard about it or who thought they were unworthy of it. I saw Love transform the lives of drug addicts, prostitutes, ex-convicts etc. It wasn’t until I went off to college that I learned that this kind of outreach was viewed as extreme by most people. It seemed as though Christianity wasn’t supposed to be radical, it wasn’t supposed to cause you to feel uncomfortable or go out of your way…The Christianity held by most of my peers seemed to be something that is supposed to be simply “bless me” and “do more for me”. It was about what “God can do for you” and “how God can bless you”. I began to find myself sinking into that misconception. My junior year in college, a friend of mine suggested a wonderful book by David Platt, Follow Me. This book along with his books Radical and Radical Together, really sparked something in me and opened my eyes to the way Western Christianity has watered down the Gospel and how our idea of the Christian walk completely goes against what Christ commissioned us to do and the example that He left for us.
Being a disciple of Christ isn’t about sitting on a padded pew in church one to two times a week…It is about getting up off of our padded seats, leaving the four walls and getting out into the community - showing them Who Christ is. A church is not a building…it is the Body of Christ. WE are to minister to those who don’t know the Lord. We literally preach to the choir every week. We continually share the Love and Grace of God with people who are already know about the Love and Grace of God. What about those who don’t know?
We get on our Facebooks and Twitter accounts and post about Jesus and His love - but we don’t put that Love into action. You can tweet all day, “God loves you. Repent, God loves you” but until you get out there and show the world that God loves them, your words mean nothing to them.
The Western world is all about “ME! ME! ME!”. If it isn’t comfortable to ME or what will make ME happy, I’m not doing it. We have transferred this feeling into the Church. If that outreach project isn’t comfortable for ME or if this ministry opportunity is not something that will make ME happy, I’m not partaking in it. To make things even worse, we have the nerve to try to bring God into it. “I don’t feel comfortable doing outreach, God didn’t call me to do that.” THE DEVIL IS A LIAR. Jesus literally called all of us to GO and spread His Name to all nations. GO…outreach…not SIT or STAY. If Jesus left His throne to come down here and minister to and save us, why do we feel exempt from having to leave our comfy homes and churches to minister to others? That makes absolutely no sense and is unbiblical.
And let's address another issue I have most recently encountered. Stop using prayer as a cop out for putting action behind your faith!!! Recently, an innocent black male was shot and killed by police 2 miles from where I attend college. Following this tragedy, the students at my college along with hundreds in the community have been marching, protesting and speaking out on the injustice that has occurred. And it isn’t just about this one death but the hundreds or thousands of other unjustly murdered black men killed without real cause and never allowed to live out the lives and destiny God planned for them. With that being the case, the tweets on my personal account have been showing pictures from protests and marches I’ve participated in and I have been retweeting news about what is going on. Because of this, my whole TL hasn’t been JESUS-JESUS-JESUS like it usually is…not that I have lost sight of Jesus but because I am speaking out on what is occurring. I would first like to say that I appreciate those of you who have contacted me checking to be sure I am still doing well physically and spiritually. I have not lost my focus on Christ or ministry.
(Die in at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte)
(March at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte)
However, I have noticed that many of my fellow Christian followers have this idea that we need not be involved with what is going on in the world because we are to be in the world but not of it. True - we are to be in the world but not of it (John 17:16) – however, that is referring to ‘not partaking in sin’…That doesn’t apply to being involved with civil rights. Others hold the idea that we don’t need to be protesting because the real battlefield is in the Spirit and we should just pray. (Don’t forget that Martin Luther King Jr. was a reverend.) Yes, this is more than a racial issue, it is a spiritual issue, HOWEVER faith without works is dead (James 2:26). We can pray all day and night on our knees that justice be served but don’t forget that we are God’s hands, feet, ears, eyes and mouths in the earth. What if you are the vessel that God is calling to raise up and get into the community speaking to the people? Jesus didn’t just pray that we would turn away from sin and become one with God, He died on that Cross! If He had not purchased us back from the spiritual bondage that we had sold ourselves in to, we would all still be lost. It took His life to pay the price of our sin. Talk and prayer were unable to pay the price of our Blood Covenant with God. It was a legal transaction.
It frustrates me when I see Christians who keep talking about this faith that they have in Christ yet they don’t follow His example when it is outside of their comfort zone, and it annoys me when Christians try to say, “you’re doing too much” by being radical for Christ. Christ, Himself, is the radical One!
I have learned that the Church doesn’t like it when your Christian walk steps outside of its designated comfort zone. You speaking up and getting out into the community highlights their lack of action and they don’t like that.
Lastly, lose that “holier than though” spirit. Through the tragedies of this year, including the shooting of the gay club in Florida, I have actually seen and heard Christians say, “That’s what they get for being outside of the Will of God”. About this Black Lives Matter movement Christians have said, “We shouldn’t support it as Christians because the movement also supports the lives of homosexuals, bisexuals and queers.”
Just because a life doesn’t follow the Word of God and sins on a daily does not mean that God cares about them any less or that their lives lack value. Jesus died for ALL including the drug addict, prostitute and homosexual. If our Christian concern is for their salvation and for them walking in relationship with God, then our concern is that until they accept Christ they live to be able to meet Him for themselves. It is not only their “lives” that matter in the flesh, it is their “spiritual lives” that must meet eternity.
How can we proclaim that we love God when we don’t reflect His Love to others? More and more, my fellow Christian followers have been disappointing me because more and more our tweets and conversations on twitter seem to be solely focused on showing how “righteous we are” and “how much we know” rather than inviting others in with love so we can show them Who we know and Who Love Is.
STOP. JUST STOP.
Stop thinking that going to church for Bible Study and once on Sunday is enough. Stop acting like your Twitter ministry is you doing the Kingdom of God a service.
It's easy to put scriptures in our bios on Instagram, post notes from the pastor's sermon on Facebook and tweet verses on Twitter but if we have still yet to fully follow Christ, we are doing ourselves a disservice.
Being a disciple of Christ is so much more than an hour at Bible Study and two hours of church on Sunday...it is a daily decision to die to self. Until we do that, we cannot live for Christ.
I'm pressing this because there's so much more to this Christian walk than what many of us have been living and there is so much fulfillment that comes from fulfilling our purpose...such indescribable joy that comes from following our God given commission.
Who are we following and what cross must we bear?
Ministry, love, redemption...that was Jesus' focus while on assignment on earth. When Christ walked among men, though He was flawless and had all power, though He was the Son of God and was King of all (and still is, may I add) He walked humbly with the broken, hurt and forgotten. He served and remained focus on the assignment God had given Him. He wasn't concerned with earthly, human matters but the bigger and spiritual picture. He wasn't focused on personal comfort but on comforting the hurt and showing them love that they may see the Light. He wasn't worried about being hot or thirsty but about offering Living Water to the thirsty so that they won't have to spend eternity burning in hell. He didn't run from pain but endured the worst persecution in order that we may never have to face eternal punishment. This is the Lord that we serve. This is our Savior. This is Jesus Who we proclaim to follow. But how can one follow if they never get up and move? They can't.
Christ calls all of us to bear our own cross and follow Him. This isn't a physical cross as the one He was crucified on. Your cross is anything that isn't comfortable or brings pain or is outside of your fleshly desire. It is answering your God-given assignment. The disciples took up their crosses and followed Christ. They left behind all that they knew to embark on a journey with Christ...
They left behind their trades and traded in their old lives for a new ones in service to Christ.
But this act wasn't just for the twelve disciples...Jesus gave every single Believer this same great commission:
“And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."”
Matthew 28:18-20 NASB
“And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all creation.”
PS- My homie, Kofi, had a wonderful thread on Twitter that I believe perfectly explains the position the Church should have concerning the turmoil and injustice going on around us. He even provided the scriptures that support his statement.
Here are the scriptures he used for his stance:
Isaiah 1:17; 10:1-3; 56:1
Proverbs 11:1; 29:4 & 7; 31:8-9