Looking back through the years of my Christian life, I would have told anyone that I was a "healthy enough" Christian. I went to church on Sunday, read my Bible and prayed occasionally, and did not participate in questionable things. That was about it.
I called myself a "healthy" Christian, believing all was well in my walk with the Lord.
Then one day I came face to face with the verse Luke 9:23, where Jesus states, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow me." That is a powerful, breathtaking statement that Jesus made.
Come after Jesus, deny myself, carry the cross, follow him. Jesus had to be kidding. After all, I was a good person, but not this.
"You are asking way too much of me, Lord," I thought to myself.
As I contemplated the verse, I realized that Jesus was asking for a full commitment from me. Was I willing to give up my own plan for my life and become his follower?
After much soul-searching, I knew in my heart that it was all or nothing for him. Get "me" off my mind, surrender my life totally and completely to him, and get into a journey of going deeper. It was a decision that only I had to make, and I did.
As the old song goes, "No turning back, no turning back." Remember it?
Mary, the mother of Jesus, was visited by the angel Gabriel and told that she would be with child and give birth to a son. (Luke 1:30-33) What became very clear to Mary was that her life would never be the same again after the angel's proclamation. Mary's immediate response was, "I am the Lord's servant. May it be to me as you have said." (Luke 1:38)
Mary, being a very young, frightened girl could have said, "No, not me. I believe in you, God, but you are asking way too much of me. I am a good person who follows the law, but not this."
Without hesitation, she bravely said to the angel, Gabriel, "May it be to me as you have said." She denied herself and submitted to follow God's plan for her life.
We all know the story: Mary carried a heavy cross in her life, an earth-shattering experience that changed her life forever.
These two stories are similar. What is your story? What is your relationship with the Lord? Are you saying, "No, not me. You are asking way too much of me, Lord. Your cross is too heavy for me."
"Healthy enough" or "fully committed" to him? We are all faced with that question -- a question that must be answered.
-- Donna Hubbard is Small Group Leader at Life Church Tri-Cities in Richland. Questions and comments should be directed to editor Lucy Luginbill in care of the Tri-City Herald newsroom, 333 W. Canal Drive, Kennewick, WA 99336. Or email email@example.com.