Matthew 7:24, 25 "Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock."

Jesus' coming into this world involved numerous hard decisions. Either he would or he would not be a human being. That cannot be a maybe decision. (See Philippians 2:6, 7.) To say "No!" to the rule of Satan was an "either/or" decision, not a perhaps decision. (See Matthew 4:1-11). To assume the role of a poor servant in his ministry involved a definite commitment, not a "wait and see" attitude. (See Matthew 20:28.)

Jesus' commitment involved being misunderstood by his own followers, rejection by the people he came to help, resentment from those he tried to redirect, and criticism from those who were certain "we know God better than you do." When we carefully consider his Gethsemane prayers, his suffering prior to and during death, and his willingness to become a cold, dead body, we know those involved hard decisions.

He did not say to God, "Maybe we will do it your way." He did not say, "I will suffer some -- but I say when enough is enough!" His decision to die was a non-reversible decision! Jesus did not live with "one foot in evil and one foot in godliness" -- just to be on the safe side. He decided for God, and he followed through on his decision.

Could it be, in the past, it has been too convenient to be a Christian in this society? There was a time when society's values commonly were Christian values. Christians often did not have to make a decision! However those days are gone.

Today, society's values and God's values often are in contrast-unless we redefine God's values. It seems we can transpose any ungodly pursuit into godliness if we alter God's definitions a bit. By altering God's definitions we can be a little bit sexually active outside of marriage, a little bit dishonest, a little bit untruthful, a little bit greedy, a little bit vulgar, a little bit against God, a little bit selfish, a little bit hypocritical, a little bit ...

Often we create the impression that Christians can be converted when conversion suits their immediate desires, serve when it is convenient to serve, make God their priority when it suits the moment's purposes, honor Christ when it is the thing to do, and live for God when we are surrounded by those who live for God.

Jesus becoming our Savior involved hard decisions. Following Jesus as our Savior involves hard decisions. Just as becoming the Savior involved being misunderstood, rejected, resented, and criticized, being the Savior's disciple often involves being misunderstood, rejected, resented, and criticized. We follow Christ or we do not.

After washing his disciples' feet, Jesus said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them" (John 13:16, 17). The storm is gathering!

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 4 July 2004

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