Following Jesus is More Than a One-Time Decision
Churches are filled with people who seem content to have casual association with Christ and give nominal adherence to Christianity. Scores of men, women, and children have been told that becoming a follower of Jesus simply involves acknowledging certain facts or saying certain words. But this is not true. Disciples like Peter, Andrew, James, and John show us that the call to follow Jesus is not simply an invitation to pray a prayer; it is a summons to lose our lives (p. 23)
It is possible to have a prayed a prayer to receive Christ with as much sincerity as you could muster and still not be a Christian. Following Jesus entails far more than repeating a short prayer. As David Platt makes clear in his booklet What Did Jesus Really Mean When He Said Follow Me?, there is a cost in following Jesus that is born out in one’s life. When we come to Jesus in saving repentance and faith, our thoughts, feelings, and actions are decisively changed by Him.
As we trust in Christ, he transforms our tastes in such a way that we begin to love the things of God that we once hated, and we begin to hate the things of this world that we once loved (p. 30).
Platt is concerned by the stories of so many folks who have prayed a prayer and then went on to live as if nothing had changed. The reality is, maybe nothing did change! The evidence that one has truly come to Christ is found in how one lives, thinks, and feels.
Platt is careful not to say that salvation is based on the changes in our lives. We are saved by faith alone in Christ’s finished work alone—in fact, no amount of works on our behalf can earn salvation in any sense. Faith trusts in what Christ has accomplished for us. We cannot save ourselves, and Christians know this.
Salvation happens apart from our works, but it always leads to works. Being a disciple of Jesus means that we will bear fruit. Not perfectly, but really bearing fruit. And ultimately, we want to bear fruit! In coming to Jesus, we taste and see that He is good and we begin to desire Him above all else! Our affections are decisively changed.
We discover that Jesus is the supreme source of satisfaction, and we want nothing apart from him. We realize that he is better than all the pleasures, pursuits, plaudits, and possessions of this world combined (p. 29).
All who profess to be Christians need to know these truths. Some may learn them, realize they were never saved, and truly turn to Christ for the first time. To God be the glory!
Platt’s booklet is a great reminder and summary of all of these truths. Therefore, I recommend this resource as very helpful for evangelism and discipleship to aid folks in understanding that following Jesus involves one’s whole being. In fact, this is one of the best, shorter resources I know of for such a purpose!
A couple more great quotes:
Jesus is not customizable. He has not left himself open to interpretation, adap tation, innovation , or alteration. He has revealed himself clearly through his Word, and we have no right to personalize him. Instead, he revolutionizes us. As we follow Jesus, we believe Jesus, even when his Word confronts (and often contradicts) the deeply held assumptions, beliefs, and convictions of our lives , our families, our friends, our culture, and sometimes even our churches. And such belief in Jesus transforms everything about what we desire and how we live (p. 26-27).
Jesus did not claim to be one dish on the buffet line of spirituality from which we can pick and choose the elements that best suit our taste. And if his claims are true, then his call demands everything, and we have no other choice—like those fishermen before us—but to drop everything and follow him (p. vii).