How to Know if I am a Follower of Christ

by Tom Andrasi on February 28, 2013

in Book Review, Christianity 101, Discipleship

fork in road

I have just finished reading Follow me: A call to die: A call to live by David Platt. This is one of those books which you know the minute you read the last sentence that you need to read it again.

This is not a volume which you can read like an entertaining novel and then relegate to it’s place among your “books read” list.

This is a book which demands that you do something with it’s contents. If we accept it’s premise, then we must do something about it. We cannot put it back on a shelf and continue down the same path as before.

In the same way that we are either for or against Christ – we cannot straddle the fence on this – I feel as if I am standing at a fork in the road. Either direction requires a conscious decision – if what the author lays out is true, there are serious implications to how I live my life. If his thesis is just an opinion, then nothing is really required of me. Either way, I am faced with deciding whether or not Jesus really placed these demands on us and then to live out my life accordingly.

As we read the gospels, we see repeatedly that “the initial call to Christ is an inevitable call to die.” (Mark 8:34-35) Jesus made it clear that to follow him we must deny ourselves.

Platt argues that this “call’ is not simply an invitation to pray a prayer, it is a summons to loose our lives. It seems that as the years have passed, we have gotten away from this call to forsake all and instead have made salvation a simple matter of praying the right words and “asking Jesus into our hearts.”

We have in effect adopted a “cheap grace” mentality, and as the author says: “With good intentions and sincere desires to reach as many people as possible for Jesus, we have subtly and deceptively minimized the magnitude of what it means to follow him.”

We have convinced ourselves that we have checked off the right boxes and so can continue in our comfortable lives knowing that this too is “taken care of” while never really counting the cost of following Christ. (Luke 14:25-28)

It’s scary to think that just because I said a specific prayer years ago, it does not necessarily mean that I am truly saved! What really matters, is our obedience to what Jesus said. The author is by no means advocating a “works based” salvation – we are saved by faith alone, through grace alone, in Christ alone – however if our lives do not reflect the fruit of following Jesus, then are we not deceived in thinking that we are indeed followers of Jesus?

Is it too much to think that if we claim to be Christians while our lives look no different from that of the rest of the world that we are clearly not Christians?

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. “(Matthew 7:21)

The truth is, as the author says, “We are not called simply to believe certain points or observe certain practices, but ultimately to cling to the person of Christ as life itself.”

Furthermore, “Superficial religion involves a counterfeit “Christian” life that consists of nothing more than truths to believe and things to do, and it misses the essence of what it means to follow Jesus. Supernatural regeneration, on the other hand, involves an authentic Christian life that has been awakened by the Spirit, truth, love, passion, power, and purpose of Jesus.”

I think it safe to say that all professing Christians would like to be able to confidently answer the question of how to know if I am a follower of Christ, and to know that his or her life falls in line with that answer.

Could it be that we need to return to basics and search with renewed vigour the words of Jesus and begin to take them at face value as we measure our lives by what he said defines a Christian?

 

I’ll be sharing more from this book in the coming days, but for now would like to know what you think about this. Have we deluded (albeit sincerely) ourselves into a place of thinking all is well when in fact it is not?

 

© 2013-2015, Tom Andrasi

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