Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24)

If a man were to tell his newly wedded wife that he only married her for her money, or physical beauty, or anything else, how long will that marriage last? Not long. Yet we can see the same thing with those who claim Christ yet live any which way they want or desire. Many claim to know the Lord, they profess Jesus to friends and family, but they never take time to pray, they never read the word, many don’t own a Bible, nor do they desire to buy one, to them Christ is just a means of gaining something they want, be it a financial blessing, to get out of jail or prison, to find a wife in a local church they go to, or in many cases, to not go to hell.

Sadly, the latter of what I wrote is more of a reality than we might think. I’ve heard many accounts as to why someone is a “Christian”, but here’s the thing, just because one might “claim” to be a believer doesn’t make them a believer. While it’s true that only God can judge the heart of a man or woman, still, we can examine the fruit of someone’s life to attest whether or not the fruit of Christ is active and working in their life.

Too many people want Christ because they want to get something from him, and what’s dangerous about that is, they end up losing everything in the process, even their desire to follow the Lord, because in reality, they never had a genuine born again “experience” that really took hold. Jesus spoke of this in the parable of the seed sower (Matthew 13:1-21), where he gave accounts of seeds (the word) being planted in the life of a person. Some seeds fell onto good ground (which is Christ) and the seeds grew to produce fruit, some 30, some 60, some 100. Some seeds only got into the fertile ground and withered away because it did not desire a deeper root with Christ. Some seeds took root, but when the cares of this life came, they withered away.

When someone claims to follow Christ only to get out of going to hell, they have made a tragic determination which will not save them, why? Because of their heart. One can have a head knowledge of Christ, but if the heart has not changed, if their desire is to completely yield themselves to Christ, then they won’t make it. Again, because they truly do not believe in Christ or what he came to do, they look at the cross as a means to gain something other than a relationship with the savior, they attempt to gain something without paying the price, and they, like so many before them, end up losing everything simply because they never really “knew” Jesus, they only professed of knowing him, thus why Christ will say at the judgment, “Depart from me, I never KNEW you!”

Now let me prove my point by scripture. There were many who followed Christ in the beginning of his ministry, but one day the crowds searched for the Lord, they traveled to Capernaum. Once there, they came to Jesus and said they were looking for him, for they were fed with the miracle of the fish and loaves. But something Jesus said startled them when he told them, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill.” (John 6:26)  The fact was, the crowds revealed what was in their heart from the beginning. They did not follow Christ out of love, but out of motive for self. Theirs was to be fed, healed and fed some more. They went where the free food was! But they had no true desire to seek the one who was the bread of life.

Today we see it many times in many lives of those who go to church, sing in the choir, work in the church, but they do it out of selfish motives, they are doing it to gain what they can gain. So the end result will be a lack luster walk because they have no true genuine walk for their honor Christ with their lips, but their HEART is far from him. So what is your motive? What is your goal with Christ? The only answer is to completely come to Christ, not out of gain or what you can get, but because you understand that you are a poor, miserable wretch and need a savior. That is the heart of someone who desires Christ, because they will follow him wherever he might lead, even if it leads to death, they will go.

That’s the problem with what is being preached in many churches today. A gospel of self which guarantees anything but a denial of self. This social gospel is filling the pulpits across America and it’s leading many into a false sense of salvation, for it implies that there is no cost to following Christ, but Jesus said that unless we die to self and follow him, we CANNOT be one of his disciples. Think of that, that’s certainly not being taught in many churches across America is it? because Satan is deceiving many under the guise of a cross-less gospel, where the idea is not sacrifice but reward. This is what Paul said in Galatians 1:18 – another gospel we are to avoid.

So what is your motive? What are you willing to give up for the cause of Christ? Are you willing to follow the savior even if you never are blessed in this life? Or healed? Or see peace in your life? Yes, God does bless, God does heal, God does bring us peace, but in this walk we will have tribulation and strife (John 16:33), heartache and suffering, sadness and joy. But will you follow him anyway? That is the measure of a man or woman who claims Christ and surrenders all to follow him, knowing that they have died to Christ, but now they live. Think about it.


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