Summary: 4 of 4 of the series, In Pursuit: The Jesus Walk.It’s time to make a decision! Are you pursuing Christ or are you going to follow someone or something else? This is the most crucial decision of your life! And it requires commitment to follow through on
THE IMPORTANT STEP
Read before service:
John 15:1-8 (NIV)
1 "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. 5 "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
Life is full of decisions. Some decisions are important ones, others not so important – but one of the inescapable facts of life is that we must make decisions. We start in the morning with deciding whether we’re going to hit that snooze button and catch a few more winks of sleep and finish at night with the decision whether we’re going to crawl off to bed or catch a few more minutes of being awake!
Some decisions we make are really easy – like taking a breath of air, like accepting a gift from a loved one, like whether or not you are going to open mail that’s addressed to you. Like deciding what you want to eat from a menu at a restaurant (or at least it should be!) But then again the latter sometimes falls into the hard decision category!
Some decisions are not so easy – like what your career path will be in life, like who you are going to marry, whether or not you are going to have children and how many!!
One of the most crucial decisions everyone makes in life however is who they are going to follow! Some people consciously make this decision and then, some people unconsciously make this decision. Who is it or what is it that shapes your life, influences the way you live, how you live? Who or what is it that influences every other decision in your life?
There is another important factor to consider when looking at the crucial decision of who or what you follow in life. Although some decisions are easily made and some are more difficult to make, the fulfillment of the decision is realized to your commitment to it! Do you follow through? Do you stick to it? Do you persevere?
For the last three weeks I’ve been talking about Pursuing Christ: Walking the Jesus Walk – about following Christ. I’ve talked about hearing his call in your life and realizing that Jesus is calling out to every man, woman and child, "Come, Follow Me!" I’ve talked about learning to recognize the steps Jesus is taking for your life and get in the way with Him rather than in the way OF Him and what He wants to do with your life. Then last week I talked about actually Taking the Steps that Jesus lays out for you and realizing where He will take you, who He will take you to and why He takes you there. Intertwined through all these messages has been the voice of Jesus calling out to you, "Come, Follow Me!" I’ve ended each message with the invitation for you to make that decision to make Jesus the leader of your life and to get behind Him and follow Him. But today we come to the Important Step. It’s one thing to make a decision to follow Christ and it’s another thing to commit to follow Him! To persevere – to stick it out – to follow through! Commitment is the bridge between your decision and your position! It is commitment that enables you to hold to your decision no matter what the cost of that decision is! It is commitment that enables you to stick to your decision when following Jesus means going to some uncomfortable places, some uncomfortable people for some uncomfortable reasons. And it is commitment that enables you to experience the joys, the wonders, and the everlasting peace of breaking through the tough spots in life! This kind of commitment only comes from faith and belief in Jesus Christ as the Lord of Your life and in His leadership – no matter what!James makes an interesting observation in the letter by his name,