by Debbie Holloway, Crosswalk.com Contributor
Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching” (John 14:23-24).
I’ve watched a lot of altar-calls in my day. The church in which I grew up routinely had altar-calls at the end of Sunday morning services. “If you’ve never asked Jesus into your heart, and you want to now, raise your hand. Come to the front. Pray this prayer…” Granted, not every church and every denomination does the whole altar-call thing. But it’s a pretty recognizable event in the land of “Christianese.”
And it’s not baseless. After all, Paul wrote to the Romans:
"If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved" (Romans 10:9).
"For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, ‘Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame’" (Romans 10-11).
But I wonder sometimes if we grasp those verses a little too tightly, and forget about the kind of life that Jesus was calling us to live. Are we living like Christians – like those “belonging to Christ” or “members of Christ’s household” – or are we simply living like people who prayed the Sinner’s Prayer that one time?
Take a look at a few of these verses:
"You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.' But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person” (Matthew 5:38-39).
“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23).
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on” (Matthew 6:25).
“Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God" (John 3:20-21).
Jesus said those things. Jesus said to follow him. To give, make peace, feed the poor, and endlessly love.
Intersecting Faith and Life: Ask yourself… Are you walking in the footsteps of Jesus? Are you walking in the light? Or are you just someone who said the Sinner’s Prayer one time, long ago?
The Characters of Christmas is a podcast created to help you take a fresh look at the Christmas story by getting to know the minor characters that played a part in Jesus’ birth. It is the companion to Dan Darling's book "The Characters of Christmas: The Unlikely People Caught Up in the Story of Jesus."