I have decided to follow Jesus

I heard an inspiring story during one of my trips to India. But before I share the story, a little background. Northeast India for many decades had been known as the missionaries’ graveyard. Primarily because nearly every missionary who had moved there and attempted to establish a mission station was faced with unbelievable rejection and failure. The region has been a demonic stronghold for centuries. It was rare that any missionary team would last over one year. It is reported that many got sick and some even died. But most left defeated by an unbelievable hardness of the people’s heart toward the gospel.

Even though the region was considered closed to the gospel, somehow there was one family who became a follower of Jesus. The story is told of a man who lived in a small village in this region of India. We are not sure how he heard the gospel but he was a passionate follower of Jesus. His conversion and commitment to Christ plus his zeal for the gospel had so irritated the villagers that a mob formed. They rushed this man’s house and shoved him and his family to the public square.  The village chief questioned him about his faith and gave him and his family a chance to recant. The man didn’t know what to do. So he began to sing a song that some believe he had composed.

” I have decided to follow Jesus, I have decided to follow Jesus, I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back.”

With that his children were horrifically killed as he and his wife watched in horror. He was given another chance to recant and save his wife. Again, not knowing what to do, he sang another verse.

“Though none go with me still I will follow, though none go with me still I will follow, though none go with me still I will follow, no turning back, no turning back.”

He watched as they brutally murdered his wife. Then he was given one more chance to recant. He continued to sing.

“The cross before me the world behind me, the cross before me the world behind me, the cross before me the cross behind me, no turning back, no turning back.”

Even though that man and his family were killed that day, something remarkable happened. A seed was planted in the heart of the chief. It was a seed that began to grow over time. Then one day he gathered the villagers in that very same square and renounced his previous faith and he declared his allegiance to Jesus Christ. A celebration began to break out and the gospel spread not only through out that village but through the whole region. It spread because they had seen true faith and had seen the real character of God.

I believe this is one of the events that God used to open up this region of India. In the last couple of decades hundreds of thousands Indians have come to Christ. I have personally witnessed this incredible move of God.

Bottom Line

There are several lessons we can learn from this inspiring story.

1. When you make a decision to follow Jesus you will be called on to “draw a line in the sand”. We may not be called on to give our life in martyrdom like this family but we will be faced with a decision(s) that will set us apart from the world. Will I chose to follow Jesus absolutely or will I compromise just to keep my personal dream alive?

The world is not for us. The scripture tells us that we are ‘strangers and pilgrims’ in this world. In other words, we are not familiar with the territory (way of life), and we are pilgrims, just passing through on the way home (heaven).

2. God can take any tragedy, disappointment and turn it into an incredible victory. The principle of Romans 8:28 (“all things work together for our good”) is that God takes all of the successes, failures, unfairness, sacrifices and tragedies and is able to blend them all together to accomplish His will for your life.

For every tragedy and failure God has already gone ahead of his children to begin a process of turning our greatest hurt and disappointment into an incredible work of God.

3. Make sure you have absolutes in your life. We live in a “relative world” where the culture dictates what is right and wrong. As a committed follower of Jesus our life is dictated by absolutes. The old saying is true, “If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.” Absolutes encourages us to be firmly planted on the absolute faithfulness of God.

Six Spiritual Truths That Guide My Life – Part 2

4. A Biblical World View.

There is a century- old belief that says you are the books you read and the people you hang-out with. While that may be an indicator of where your system of thinking comes from, I think it goes deeper than that. I believe you are a product of your “Worldview”.

A Worldview is a belief system that forms your foundation for decision making. Down through the centuries, society has formed many different belief systems, but all belief systems stem from only two Worldviews, a secular Worldview and a Biblical or Christ-centered Worldview. Each Worldview is a system and standard for morality, behavior and decision making.

A Secular Worldview is based on a man-centered logic that everything is relative. It is driven by societal and cultural changes. The sense of right and wrong is based on cultural patterns that change with the belief system of the current culture

In other words, there are no moral absolutes. Anything goes as long as society thinks its ok. A recent example is the redefinition of marriage and the status of an unborn child. Who would have ever thought that our country would murder over 6o million babies through abortion? It is a secular worldview that causes a society to eventually make the decision for what is morally right and wrong.

A Biblical/Christ-centered Worldview is based on, and guided by a set of moral absolutes. God, through the Holy Scriptures, gives us moral absolutes that guide and direct our life. As followers of Christ, we have the Holy Spirit, and the life of Christ within us, to make the written Word alive. That enables us to live with a sense of peace and joy, even though the world around us is falling apart. We no longer have to fall victim to a world system that brings us moral confusion. We know who we serve, who we are, how we are to live and where we are going.

5. Expect the light of Christ to affect those around me.

Sociologists say that every person influences at least 5 people. That means that at least five people are influenced by what I say, what I do and how I treat other people. They are influenced by the decisions I make and how I respond to adversity and disappointments. They watch our response when we don’t get our way. They observe how we react when someone disagrees with us.

The Scriptures teach that we are to be “Salt and Light” to the world. Even though salt can be an irritant, its primary function in the end is to bring healing and flavor. Our life should bring healing to those who are hurting and are looking for answers.

Our life is to bring light to a dark world. It is not necessarily our words that bring light but the inner glow of Jesus that draws others to the light.

I have been preaching and teaching for several decades and the best sermons and lessons I have ever delivered are given without a word spoken. It’s the light of the risen Christ shining through me, emanating the Light of the world. Wherever I go, every stranger I meet could be a recipient of His light through me. That’s the reason we should never underestimate the power of a smile or a kind word.

6. Develop moral absolutes.

Moral absolutes are lines you have predetermined not to cross. These may be lines that our culture says is OK, but because of my Biblical/Christ-centered Worldview, these are lines that we have decided not to cross. It’s having a set of moral absolutes that act as a daily guide for your life. It’s not a law but rather a discipline based on the absolutes of God’s Word. It keeps us from crossing a line that would cause us to have regrets. (Titus 2:11-13)

Bottom Line
God has given us everything we need to live a victorious and happy life. But we must allow God’s truth to drive us to the sufficiency of Christ. Do you have some moral absolutes? If not, think about developing your own set of biblical moral absolutes that will serve as a guide to your daily walk with God (Colossians 3)

(See last week’s post to read part 1.)