Christian, what would you say your purpose is, as a follower of Jesus?
Christian, why did Jesus save you?
He didn’t save you so that you could live a comfortable life here on earth and then breeze past hell into heaven.
He didn’t save you so you could find fulfillment on earth in things other than himself.
He didn’t save you so you could chase your dreams or make a name for yourself.
He didn’t save you so that you could go on living your life and treating the immortal God like a side dish to your existence.
He didn’t even save you so you could go to church on Sundays and serve in the church.
He didn’t save you so you or your family could be insulated and “safe” in a squeaky clean Christian bubble.
He didn’t save you so you could hop from church to church as if you were a shopper unsatisfied with all the current church models.
He didn’t even save you so you could find a comfortable church home to go on Sundays, raise your babies in, squabble about chairs or pews or leadership, and be largely in the same spot spiritually five years from now as you are today.
He didn’t save you so you could eventually decide that you don’t need or want to be a part of his church.
He didn’t save you so you could occasionally read a Psalm and talk about the importance of hope.
Jesus came to earth, died, came alive again, and saved you so that you could have life and have it abundantly (John 10:10). And when he said that, he wasn’t talking about your dreams or happiness. Jesus’ view of an abundant life is both incredibly general and incredibly specific.
Abundant life, eternal life, is knowing God (John 17:3). And when we know God, we love him. And when we truly love him, we obey him. And when we truly obey him, we show that we know him. And when we know God, truly know him, nothing is the same.
Jesus saved you to give you himself, and by doing so, give you unspeakable joy and zeal.
But joy in what? Zeal for what? The things of his heart, not yours.
Jesus didn’t save you so you could adopt some good mindsets and values from him. When Jesus saves someone, he’s after their whole mind, their whole heart, their whole life, everything. He wasn’t being melodramatic or figurative when he said people were going to have to lose their lives to follow him (Matthew 16:25).
How much do you think Jesus is worth if you aren’t giving him everything you’ve got? And by everything, he does mean everything—every attitude and intention of your heart; every desire and dream; every cherished, socially acceptable sin; every minute of your time. Jesus didn’t come to reform you in part; he came to save you and turn your entire world upside down, saved you to lay claim to everything in your life.
Anything short of everything is unacceptable (and if you think otherwise, how well do you actually know God?).
Christian, stop slumbering in mediocrity. Stop being content to do church (or not do church as the case may be).
Near the end of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in Matthew, he says this: “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. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.” (Matthew 7:21-23)
This passage kind of makes me sick.
“Lord, Lord, did I not cast out demons in your name? Did I not do miracles in your name?”
And even to these, Jesus will say, “I never knew you. Depart from me.”
If even those who have (seemingly) done great things for Jesus aren’t actually his disciples, where does that put most American Christians? Where does that put people who don’t even read their Bibles? Where does that people who don’t worship? Where does that put people who tolerate sin in their lives? Where does that put people who aren’t making disciples?
What will Jesus say to you on the last day?
Christian, you must wake up.
Christian, you were saved to have eternal life, which is knowing God.
You were saved to be about the mission that Jesus called you to.
You were saved to grow and change and become more like Jesus.
You were saved into Jesus’ Church, without which you cannot be and do everything that God has called you to be and do.
You were saved to go home to Jesus at the end of all this, to rejoice in him with all his saints.
Don’t hear all this as saying you’re not doing enough. “Enough” is vicious, perfection-based word. Hear all this as call to think, to consider if you’re too easily pleased by this world, too contented with the status quo of your life, too American-minded in your knowledge of God and his heart. I know I have been.
I have settled for far less than what God wants for my life. I have been indifferent and slow to kill sin. I have been dazed and distracted by this world and the things I’ve wanted out of it. I have chased my dreams instead of God. I have not seen God as he is and thus my response to him, his love, his words, and his commands has been lackadaisical.
But no more.
I hope the same for you. Christian, for the sake of your soul, for your joy, I beg of you: wake up.