Earlier today, I attended our church’s Sunday Service and heard the message of Bishop Oriel M. Ballano entitled, “Followers of Jesus”. At first, I never thought that it would strike me this hard—to the point that I would write about it, but it did strike me this hard!
“Too many people today claim to be Christians, but they have no intention to follow Jesus.” – Bishop Oriel M. Ballano
After receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you must not disobey Him nor ignore him. Salvation is just the starting point, and after that you must show the validity of your Christianity. How? Simply answer this: Are you really following Him? And this another question that changed my current point-of-view: How do you see yourself—a Christian or a true follower? But how would I know which one I should belong?
Christianity as a label
As of this writing, 85.5% of Filipinos are Christians, which is majorly composed of Roman Catholics taking 80.1% of the population. But in this huge percentage, can you say that all of them follow Jesus? If they do so, why are there still corrupt government officials? Why are there still criminals doing heinous crimes? Why are there still students who are willing to cheat? The alarming thought is that almost all of the people who do such wrongful acts belong to that 85.5%! They are CHRISTIANS, as well as I, but they decided to disobey him—they chose not to follow Him.
I am a Christian because I received CHRIST. But what I realized is, I can’t call myself a Christian if I will label myself together with the people who are corrupt, liars, cheaters, adulterers, and many more. These people can’t call themselves TRUE FOLLOWERS OF JESUS simply because they can’t FOLLOW Him.
But it’s not too late to follow Him! Especially if you are willing to change and turn yourself from just a mere Christian, to a Christian who follows Jesus at the same time. Below are the things you should do to completely follow Him.
Those who follow Jesus…
- Count the Cost. You have to see the cost of following Jesus Christ. “If I follow Him, I have to stop drinking alcohol. I have to stop smoking. I have to stop cheating. I have to respect people. I have to…” So many have to’s, but that’s the kind of statement one should hear from someone that’s counting the cost. You should know what will you turn back and sacrifice to follow Him.
“Do not make a hasty decision that you will accept Christ but during the slightest persecution, you will go back to your old life.” – Bishop Oriel M. Ballano
- Carry the Cross. You have to carry the cross everyday. After Jesus died on the cross for you, you must carry your own cross and die also! Deny yourself! Apostle Paul once wrote, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20) As Christians, we must not continue living our life here on Earth based on earthly principles. We should sacrifice our life to follow Him, no matter how hard it is. But sometimes, people tend to sacrifice the Lord than sacrificing for the Lord.
“Self-denial is not so popular among Christians, nowadays.” – Bishop Oriel M. Ballano
- Follow Him Anywhere. He cleansed you to follow Him, so be willing to free yourselves from unclean doings. And when you decided to be cleaned, there’s no turning back! Following Jesus anywhere is indeed the main reason of Christianity.
Where you go, I’ll go
Where you stay, I’ll stay
When you move, I’ll move
I will follow you
Who you love, I’ll love
How you serve I’ll serve
If this life I lose, I will follow you…
I Will Follow (Chris Tomlin)
Following Jesus Christ is a big issue. It’s a must but still it requires almost everything in someone. There’s no limit in doing great things for Him, we just need to be willing to pay the price of the cost, to carry the cross as a sacrifice, and to follow Him anywhere no matter what.
Before the preaching ends, I stumbled on something in my mind: “What have I done for Jesus, enough for Him to be proud of me?” Bishop has his own share of story—a proud moment where he can tell that he put his life at stake for the Lord. He also said that when he met Paul at heaven, he can proudly say that he also risk his life for Him. And that was the turning point in my life. Thoughts came rushing in my head. I felt the sense of urgency. I actually panicked because within my eighteen years of existence, I can’t barely remember a thing I did for the Lord that I risked my life. Maybe I am serving him but I grew at my comfort zone. At that moment, I became afraid. “What if I face a tremendous storm, can I stand my ground with this kind of faith? In a small quake, I can be shaken, how should I do this?”
And in a flash, I remembered that I already sacrificed some petty things in my study. How I stand regarding cheating. How I denied getting high grades through the help from others. How I denied myself despite dreaming of having a latin honors. And ignoring those people around, eyeing and questioning me because of what I am doing. Yes, petty things, but still I always think that “God will be proud of me”—and this will be greater than any latin honors and awards. What more if I already risk my life conquering greater heights?
“Lord, gusto ko ‘yung istorya na meron rin akong sinakripisyo para sa’yo. Hindi naman puro istorya mo lang na nagsakripisyo ka sakin.” (Lord, I also want a story that I have sacrificed something for you. Not just your story of sacrifice for me.)
Now, how do you see yourself—a Christian or a true follower? This question, if asked earlier, maybe difficult to answer. But now, I decided not to label myself as a mere Christian because I am not just a Christian but a true follower of Christ.
(Want to watch the message from our senior pastor? Click this!)