Can I tell you that I’m probably the least like Christ when I drive? The busier the highway, the more anxious I become, and when you add multiple lanes on either side, then it gets worse! My children serve as reminders that my life is being watched, and I have gotten better, but I still find myself talking to the cars (praying for them, and praying that I won’t lose my cool most of the time). The ones that irk me the most are people that drive between lanes: they block two lanes because they can’t make up their mind as to which one they want to drive in, especially when approaching an interchange; more than once I’ve shouted (ironically, only to myself, the other driver can’t hear me) “Pick a lane!”
In the same way, I’m irked by people who say they follow Jesus, and yet try and walk between Christ and the world, trying to get a little bit of both. Instead of trying to stay close to Jesus, it seems that many people try and get as far away from Him as they can while still being able to call themselves followers of Jesus. This is problematic on multiple levels: first, Jesus wants to be the one and only, not the first of many. He will not share your affections with anyone. Secondly, just as with driving, our indecision may impede someone watching us who is on the fence about Jesus, or even cause them to change course. We are the only Jesus someone else may see, and if we’re living worldly lives, we may be giving permission for the Spiritually weak to continue on as they are, telling them that they can have the world and God at the same time, or turning them off completely (I’ve heard it said “Why should I follow Jesus when His followers are just like me, or worse?”). You have to pick a lane. You’re either heading toward Christ or away from Him. You can’t have it both ways.
Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.
“Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is of no use either for the soil or for the manure pile. It is thrown away. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.