The implications of choosing the Lord
There is a remarkable Bible verse in the book of Joshua Chapter 24 verse 15. Joshua in this chapter gives a spirited account of how the Lord brought the Israelites into the Promised Land and he challenges the leaders and people with these words:
Verse 15 "Choose for yourselves this day who you will serve, but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."
This was a decision and a commitment that came from the heart. The heart is the essence of the person. The critical ingredient in Christian teaching is 'the Heart'. Without the Heart there is nothing, no substance, for it is the Heart that is spoken into by the Holy Spirit and Christ becomes alive and fresh for the believer - through the Heart.
It is the critical component of becoming a follower of Jesus Christ. Romans Chapter 10 verse 9 says - 'That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.'
The Great Commission Jesus gave His disciples in Matthew Chapter 28 - was to spread the Gospel of Jesus' Salvation to every person in every nation, those whose hearts are given over to the Lord are baptised (a symbol of a cleansed-life through Jesus' forgiveness) and to make disciples (teaching them in turn as Christian people - this is the ripple effect).
How is this achieved? The emphasis in the New Testament is that of the Heart.
I need to deviate here so as to answer one question. Should Christians deal with legitimate questions of the day in an intellectual manner? And how does this relate to evangelism?
Yes, today Christians are confronted on issues such as climate change, the environment, medical care, the well-being of Aboriginal Australians and our justice system .... Christians need to respond to these but sometimes so much energy is taken up in this, that it exhausts the spiritual resources of Christian leaders to speak of the 'Heart'.
Sometimes the core Gospel proclamation has been so inundated with a flood of such issues, that people seeking the core message of the Christian faith become marginalised, and are in danger of not hearing the message of Salvation. The message of the Heart can indeed get swamped by other 'worthy' issues.
Whereas all those issues are important for the Christian, none of them, deal with the core essential of a person's essence, that is 'the Heart'.
Statement: And the implications therefore are life determining. When choosing to follow the Lord with one's heart, it changes one's perspective of 'every day' questions.
Jesus was no weakling, he stood up to the leaders, he overturned money changers' tables, he questioned the authorities, he challenged the political and religious evils of his day, he was whipped near to death, and died by crucifixion, and when he died, he carried the sin of the world.
The spiritual weight and agony Jesus suffered can only be imagined (when we consider those times when we feel guilty and the weight it carries, but only on our own private account).
The 'heart' is a very strong place. Imagine the strength of the Christian martyrs – not only of yesterday, but those who suffer for Christ now (I receive daily Christian news wire stories of martyrdom and severe persecution). My prayer is that my Heart will be as strong as these fellow Christians, as I too have said, "as for me and house, we will follow the Lord".
In my next Letter, I'll discuss "being a follower of Jesus Christ".