NOT JUST A CHRISTIAN; BUT, INSTEAD A COMPLETELY COMMITTED FOLLOWER
SOPHIA ELLYSE T. CHUA, GRADE 10, MGC NEW LIFE CHRISTIAN ACADEMY FIRST PLACE, ESSAY WRITING CONTEST 2017 ACSI Bible Festival
“I am a Christian.” That’s what everyone says – and I have to admit that I belong to that population of people. I can easily tell my peers, my cell group leader, or my teacher that I am a Christian. But I have learned my ways to be incorrect and shameful. To follow Jesus Christ means that we surrender everything to Him. Completely to Him.
It is never easy to commit to a relationship, let alone with Christ. We never see him or even make physical contact with him – this is what makes it very difficult to follow Christ as a Christian steward. The world offers us many things that can bring us farther and farther away from him. Thus, the real challenge that a true follower faces is how to be a completely committed follower.
To follow Jesus Christ means to completely surrender to him. As humans, it is in our sinful nature to take pride in being capable of doing everything independently. When we encounter problems, we see to it that they be solved by our own means and in an instant. Sadly, our deceitful hearts sometimes lead us to the path of greater harm when we easily follow the path of no harm at all. Imagine a man. He’s an avid hiker and loves to camp after a long day of hiking. One starry night, he camps and in the dark of night, his instincts draw him to a beautifully-curved cliff near his camping site. In the blink of an eye, he starts climbing the cliff with his gear and up he goes. Unfortunately, his rope slips and falls down to the hundred-foot space beneath him. As he hangs on for his life, God calls out to him and tells him to let go and let God save him. But, he doesn’t listen and keeps hanging on, unwilling to let go. The next day, he is found dead – still hanging on to that piece of rock.
We have to admit that we are incapable of saving ourselves from the outcome of our own decisions. We don’t realize we need Jesus Christ and to follow him. We burden ourselves with our own concerns and challenges we are to face. But when we completely surrender everything to him, it would feel as if a heavy load is lifted from our backs. When we finally admit that we surrender to him, he will share his yoke and make our burdens lighter.
To follow Jesus Christ also means to sacrifice our lives for him alone. As a student who aims to make it to the top 4 ranking of batch Patmos, it is easy for me to study just as it is easy for me to relax and do what I please. Similarly, it is easy for us Christians to let go of our commitment to sacrifice, which is essential to truly following Christ. In our world today, mundane things are offered to make us enjoy life and unknowingly leave Christ. These worldly things are some of the forego and sacrifice to be able to follow.
Likewise, we need to sacrifice one important aspect in our lives – time. There are 24 hours in one day. An average person typically allots 8 hours for sleeping. The remaining 16 hours are for us to spend wisely. Christ does not require us to spend all day for him, but he wants us to spend time with him. There are many excuses to make when it comes to spending time with him. “I forgot” or “I ‘m busy, maybe I’ll do it tomorrow instead.” Or the common “I’m too busy and I haven’t gotten a bit of sleep in two days.” All these excuses make us miss a lot of time that we could have spent with him.
To follow Jesus Christ means to commit to follow. It is an undeniable fact that we have our wants and our dreams and these are the things that we want to pursue. But I have learned personally that pursuing without consulting is not what we must do. Next school year will be my Grade 11 year. I need to make a choice that will determine my future. I told my parents that I wanted to study abroad for college. The first step is usually entering and pursuing the IB Diploma program in order to qualify for international colleges. When I took the admission test and sat in for an interview, I convinced myself both times that this is my dream. A week later, a call came saying that I have been offered a slot at one of the prestigious schools in the Philippines, British School Manila. Along with the offer came a deadline of two weeks to confirm my slot. For two weeks, I felt that it was as if God was telling me that I was going the wrong way. Devastated, I finally told my parents that I had to turn down the offer. When I did this, I thought that God wasn’t with me – that he wanted me to feel miserable and jealous of my other peers who were going towards the path I wanted to take.
What I was not seeing at that time was the fact that he made a wonderful promise in Jeremiah 29:11. He has a wonderful plan for me, just as he has for all others like me. As his people, all of us Christians are all the more expected to commit to follow. Where he calls, I will go and follow. Christ puts these obstacles in our way to teach us that he will never leave us nor forsake us. His love endures forever and when we follow him completely, we show him that we are being true followers as Christian stewards.
When I was still studying in Jubilee Christian Academy, we had guidance counselling sessions. In K2, I decided there and then to make a decision to follow Christ. However, I did not know for the next nine years that I was missing something while I lived my walk with God. Last December, I was faced with the question – “Are you a fan or a follower?” I was a fan. All the qualities and commitments a follower must make, I never made. After four days of camp, I realized that I wanted to be a follower. It was then when I knew that he had a plan for me. Along with that promise, I am required and obliged to serve God. This way, I have shared with others the gifts God has given me.
God’s gift to me is the gift of music. As a child, I have been part of our Church’s children’s choir. I served for seven years before deciding to quit because I was too old. Before I left, the coordinator left me with one very powerful statement. She told me that she prayed that I would find another ministry to serve Him in. The search began and it took two years before I found another ministry where I can share my God-given gift. WHALES, our school band, leads praise and worship time for Coral Reef Fellowship. When I play the piano for the week’s service, I feel as if I am serving the Lord while at the same time calling others to come and worship the Lord. I take pride in the knowledge that I serve God through the gifts that he has given me and that this is the plan he has called me to.
To follow Christ means to be a completely committed follower. The road that leads to the finish line will not be easy but it will be definitely rewarding.