Believing or Following
Two weeks ago my niece died in a motorcycle accident and last week my cousin died after a year and half battling cancer. Death always makes me stop and think about what is important in life. It reminds me that my days are numbered and there are no assurances as to their length.
My niece was 22 years old, five children, and didn't know Jesus. Her life was an attempt to find meaning and purpose as she moved from one man to another. Her only anchor in life was the children, and now they are scattered between men who previously weren't involved. Her funeral was an image of despair as her father sat muttering in the corner, mourning the last of his three children. Her death occurred as she sped away as the passenger of a sports motorcycle, no helmet and no chance to survive.
My cousin was a successful salesman with two children and supportive wife. Eighteen months ago he was diagnosed with Adrenal cancer. At one point his stomach was puncture, another time his lung collapsed and eventually the adrenal tumor was nicked and the cancer spread throughout his body. He went into cardiac arrest and flat-lined. He was dead for seven minutes. The doctors had given up when his heart began to beat again. His wife counts 22 separate miracles throughout the process and thanked God for the past year and a half.
The telling difference between the two was hope. My cousin was asked about his spiritual life and he said, "I had always been a believer in Jesus, but never a follower. I want to follow Jesus." It transformed his life. As a follower he knew the importance of living every moment for Jesus. He saw his children in a different way. He looked at his wife through the eyes of Jesus. His fellow employees saw a man transformed by hope in the midst of a dying body.
As I ponder the tragedies that have followed my family, the difficulties that I have faced, and the possible outcomes that I can chose it always comes back to the question, "Am I just a believer, or am I a follower of Jesus."
In the book of James it says that the devil believes. There are a lot of people who believe. People claim to be Christian. But do we follow? Do we put aside the cares of this world and pick up the cross? Do we forsake the sin that entangles and clothe ourselves in the righteousness of God? Do I see the world through the eyes of Jesus? Do I allow him to transform me daily?
The challenge to all of us, to me, is will we just believe or will we follow Jesus? I'm just asking...