MANY PEOPLE’S DECISIONS are shaped by their desire for survival or benefit. There are those who tend to be swayed into following the current fad or what society considers as the norm. They even go by the sayings “There is safety in numbers” and “If you can’t beat them, join them.”
Such tendency to go with the flow is driven by the idea that it is advantageous to be on the side of the majority. But, when it comes to one’s religious conviction, would it be wise to just side with the majority because it seems advantageous or convenient?
The One we should please
Learning from the experiences of the apostles, what should one be ready and willing to sacrifice to follow our Lord Jesus Christ?
“Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me’.” (Matt. 16:24 New King James Version)
When it came to their religious duties, the early servants of God denied themselves, which proved that they were true followers or disciples of Christ. Many people nowadays proclaim that they also deny themselves and are followers of Christ. But how should one deny himself to show that he is indeed a true follower of Christ?
“I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.” (John 5:30 NKJV)
A true follower of Christ does not seek his own will but the will of God as Christ Himself exemplified. What else should one do for him to obey God’s will? Apostle Paul answers:
“Instead, we always speak as God wants us to, because he has judged us worthy to be entrusted with the Good News. We do not try to please men, but to please God, who tests our motives.” (I Thess. 2:4 Good News Bible)
This should be the aim of those who want to truly follow Christ—to please God, not men. Therefore, one should follow the words of God even though the majority do not conform to this.
What the majority wants
“They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listen to them.” (I John 4:5 New International Version)
Preachers of the churches of this world speak from the viewpoint of the world—preaching what the people or the majority want to hear. This is the characteristic of false religions—they try to convince many to join them by preaching what the people want to hear, not what God wants people to hear.
On the other hand, how did the apostles describe the true followers of Christ?
“We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirt of falsehood.” (I John 4:6 NIV)
They listen to God’s commandments and they do not refuse to obey His will. What is one of God’s commandments that the majority refuse to obey?
“Thus says the LORD: ‘Stand in the ways and see. And ask for the old paths, where the good way is, And walk in it; Then you will find rest for your souls. But they said, “We will not walk in it”.’” (Jer. 6:16 NKJV)
If one wants to be a true follower of Christ then he must seek “where the good way is, And walk in it.” But what was the answer of the majority? “We will not walk in it.”
This only proves that majority of the people of today disobey God. They have made various paths, instead of walking in the good way that He directs them to tread.
The good way
Christ Himself teaches the way in which one should walk or the door that one should enter for him to be a true follower of His:
“Then Jesus said to them again, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep’.” (John 10:7 NKJV)
Our Lord Jesus is the door of the sheep, and those who entered by Him are found in one fold:
“I am the door; anyone who comes into the fold through me will be safe. …” (John 10:9 Revised English Bible)
Which is the fold or flock that man must enter to be counted as true followers of Christ? This is the pronouncement of the apostles:
“Take heed therefore to yourselves and to all the flock over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you overseers, to feed the church of Christ which he has purchased with his blood.” (Acts 20:28 Lamsa Translation)
Hence, anyone who wants to be counted among the true followers of Christ and be assured of salvation on Judgment Day should enter or join the Church Of Christ.
Christ Himself made the ultimate sacrifice by shedding His blood for the Church. In return, a person must be willing to make sacrifices, if need be, for the sake of becoming a member of the true Church Of Christ in order to obey God’s will.
Is it a wonder why the majority of people refuse to enter the Church Of Christ? The Redeemer Himself testifies:
“Go in through the narrow gate, because the gate to hell is wide and the road that leads to it is easy, and there are many who travel it. But the gate to life is narrow and the way that leads to it is hard, and there are few people who find it.” (Matt. 7:13-14 GNB)
Joining the true religion or the Church Of Christ is likened to entering a narrow gate and a hard road yet it leads to life. On the contrary, joining false religions or churches is likened to going through a wide gate and an easy road that leads to hell or everlasting punishment.
The greatest blessing
The true followers of Christ believe that living in this world is not permanent—their permanent home is in heaven. That is the reason they are strong in facing life’s trials and tests to maintain their membership in the Church. They are so determined to overcome all hindrances that may stop them from obeying God’s will, because there is a great blessing that awaits them. Apostle Peter testifies:
“Let us give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! Because of his great mercy he gave us new life by raising Jesus Christ from death. This fills us with a living hope, and so we look forward to possessing the rich blessings that God keeps for his people. He keeps them for you in heaven, where they cannot decay or spoil or fade away.” (I Pet. 1:3-4 GNB)
The greatest blessing that the true followers of Christ will receive is the right to dwell in heaven. One must see to it that he belongs to the Church Of Christ—true followers of Christ, even if it is very hard to be a Christian in these days. He must not follow what the majority are doing if it is against God’s will, but instead follow His words even if it entails sacrifices. Remember, only those who remain faithful followers of Christ until the end will have the right to live in the Holy City.
This article was originally published in the Pasugo: God’s Message magazine, November 2018 issue.