So during the teaching portion of Church today, the pastor said, “You have to give some up to follow Christ, but to choose not to follow Him you are giving up much more.” Now I’d like to change that to “You have to give some up to follow Christ, you have to give up everything not to.” Obviously I am a Christian. So I’m about to get really Christian in this post, so I hope you enjoy it. (Bear in mind, I am free writing, so I did not go back and re-think or edit anything).
Anyways, I was thinking about this saying, and it got me thinking about some other things. First my thought it what do you have to give up to follow Christ. And I would be willing to argue that you have to give up a substantial amount – all your aspirations and desires. Now this isn’t to say it is wrong to have aspirations and desires, but I think they should only be derived out of a desire for living for Christ. This meaning that even if I have aspirations to live a good moral life, or even do good deeds to other people, without it being for Christ it is still selfish. Now I think people should live good lives and do good to others – don’t get me wrong. What I am saying is, there is a difference when you are doing it to appease your guilt or obligation to humanity versus doing it as a act of service to the Creator of the world. Now I know what you are thinking, “isn’t that still an obligation?” Well, yes, yes it is. On the contrary though, I think an obligation to the One who created me is better to an obligation to others who were created by this Creator as well. All that to say, you have to give up what you desire to follow Christ – you should only desire Christ (this in turn leads to more, etc.).
The second thought I obviously have is, “what am I giving up to not follow Christ?” My answer is simple like before – “everything.” Why do I say this? It is because of my theology obviously. I believe in original sin and the fall, and I believe that humans from birth are enslaved to sin and selfish impulses. Remember, these impulses can manifest themselves into “good deeds” by having obligatory feelings towards yourself or others (idolatry against the Creator). Obviously, these impulses are not always (and mostly are not altruistic acts of obligation), they are usually acts of greed, selfishness, and pride. These words sound strong, so let me decipher what I think they disguise themselves as: money, comfortableness, false security, fleeting fun, apathy, etc.. I digress, being a slave to fleshly impulses – the things I just mentioned. Choosing not to follow Christ means a life chasing after meaninglessness, so you are giving up everything (aka meaning and purpose). I also think it means giving up eternity with God after death. In its simplest form, this is why I think we have to give up everything to not follow Christ – we have to give up everything that truly matters in the scope of eternity.
So, this have been my short free-writing rant. To sum it up, to follow Christ you have to give up some (everything that you desire now), but to not follow Christ you have to give up everything (all that really matters throughout all eternity). I hope you find some stuff in there you can agree with and some you can argue with. Let me know both, cause even after I am finishing writing this I am not sure if I agree with every word I said (or at least the way I worded it).