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Experiences

Leaving It All Behind to Follow Christ
by Carl E. Carey, Jr.

"I'm through with it!" These were the few, but powerful words spoken in Church by a young man who looked to be in his late teens. Following a sermon about the cost of following Christ, he responded instantly to the invitation to become a member of God's family. It turns out that this young man had made up his mind that he was through with his membership in a gang and the violent, sinful activity that was dominating his life. Through his tears, I could see the fear, the fatigue and the pain. He was struggling. His life was not what he wanted it to be and he knew that he needed to change. I admire that young man for taking the first step of what is sure to be a challenging break-up between him and his peer group.

His experience caused me to think about the fact that it is difficult to make big changes in one's life. However, change is often necessary if we are serious about our relationship with Christ. The cost of following Christ is high. If we truly want to follow Him, there are some things, some people and some places that we need to be through with.

In the book of Luke, chapter 19, Zacchaeus was a wealthy tax collector who had made many people miserable through his unscrupulous business dealings. At a point, Zacchaeus realizes his wrongs and wants to connect with Jesus. He tenaciously seeks Christ and when he finds Him, he repents of his dirty deeds and offers to make amends with those people who he has hurt. Zacchaeus realized that in order to follow Christ, he had to be through with cheating people.

No matter where we are in our Christian development, we should always be willing to evaluate ourselves to see if there is something in our lives that is holding us back from a full commitment to following Christ. As you look at your own life, what or who do you need to be through with in order to live a life that is pleasing to God? Like Zacchaeus, the young man who was a gang member realized that what he was doing was wrong. He accepted that he had to distance himself from the gang in order to follow Jesus.

In Luke 15, the Bible tells us through several parables that the angels in heaven rejoice when one of the Lord's children comes home to Him. When we are truly through with the things that separate us from God, we are able to enter into a right relationship with Him. Our conscience is clear—our prayers are more effective—our blessings begin to flow. Change can be difficult, but sometimes it's necessary. Just one positive change could change your life for the better.





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