This blog post will actually be a continuation from a previous post that I did focusing on this topic of following after Christ. So, here’s a question that I want to ask as I begin this blog post:
What Legacy Will We Leave Behind When We Die?
Luke 9:25-26 (NKJV) says, “25. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? 26. For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels.”
What is our legacy as Christians? In a recent devotional that I read entitled “Funeral Finances”, it stated that “Whether you realize it or not, you have already begun to plan your funeral. The statement of your life – what will be remembered – is being written today in the choices you make…”
What I found fascinating about this quote is that it really makes me question what kind of legacy I will leave not only as a human being but also as a Christian when I chose to follow Christ. Throughout the four Gospels, Jesus continues to remind His disciples that He will eventually be leaving them when He is crucified and later resurrected and ascended to Heaven, leaving behind the Holy Spirit.
However, there’s one exchange in particular between two of Jesus’s disciples and Jesus Himself that I really enjoyed because it shows me what it would really take to leave behind everything and take up my cross.
In Matthew 20:21-23, the author and disciple Matthew says, “21. And He said to her, “What do you wish?” She said to Him, “Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom.” 22. But Jesus answered and said, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” They said to Him, “We are able.” 23. So He said to them, “You will indeed drink My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with, but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared by My Father.”
Related Post: Will You Take Up Your Cross and Follow Me?
As Christians, we have to be willing to decide if we are able to fully commit to the lifestyle of giving up our own desires and follow after Christ. If not, what then are we willing to leave behind when we die?
I remember re-reading a blog post by Efua of Grace over Pain entitled, “Denying Myself to Follow Christ” and it was amazing. In the blog post itself, Efua mentioned, “… For this to happen, I need to deny my flesh of what it craves for… But this cannot go with the spirit of God. The Holy Spirit wants me to have self-control, show forgiveness, show love and discipline my flesh so I can hear Him clearly.”
What I found very interesting about this quote by Efua is that Efua acknowledged that she would need to discipline her flesh in order to hear God clearly and that is something that is fascinating. In order to hear from God clearly, we as Christians need to first recognize what is holding us back from and learn to discipline it before it overtakes us. In her blog post, Efua has many quotes that focus on this theme including:
- “Following Jesus isn’t always fun. Sometimes it looks stupid. However, it is the right and only way to eternal life and victory.”
- “As a Christian, I need to deny myself of earthly pleasures that can pollute my mind. I can’t follow Jesus if I want to do everything and have no discipline in any way. I can’t follow Jesus if i want easy, challenge and stress-free life because just the fact I am a Christian makes me a target for the devil.”
- “When I give an excuse as to why I feel I need a break from that sister who He has clearly told me to reach out to. When I tell Him i am ‘protecting’ myself when He tells me to lay down my guards, so I can freely receive the gift He has for me.”
- “It can be tough at times to trust and wait on God, but He has never disappointed me the times i have trusted Him. This has strengthened my faith and it’s given me hope as well.”
Efua said, “I can’t focus on carrying my cross when I am distracted by everything that passes. “My cross” can be very heavy for me to carry if i am not dead to my flesh.”
As I mentioned before, following Christ is more than just words we say, it’s the actions we take to pursue Him wholeheartedly. By pursuing Jesus wholeheartedly, we must also recognize that we must be open about bringing up His name is a conversation with the friends, family, or co-workers we are constantly interacting with.
In John 15:5-6 (NKJV), the author John says, “5. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.”
What I find so fascinating about this passage of Scripture is that the disciple John focuses on Jesus’s statement about being the vine and how we are to abide in Him. As Christians, we have to ask ourselves: Are We Abiding in Christ when we decide to remain silent?
T.R. Noble of Inside Cup wrote a blog post that also focuses on this topic titled “Stop Remaining Silent About Christ” when she said, “When we face the Lord can we truly say we did EVERYTHING we could so that people could see Christ in us, that if those around us were asked, by what we have shared with them they would at least understand Jesus and sin (whether or not they believed and followed Him.)”
Within her blog post, T.R. Noble has a myriad of quotes that I feel definitely speak to this concept of speaking about Christ and how we as Christians need to do more.
- “We have a podium, why can’t we use it for Him? It’s ok to talk about light subjects.”
- “If we are Christian, why are we NOT talking about Christ?”
- “To not open up about why we believe, especially with those around us? Jesus should not be PART of our life or routine. HE IS LIFE!”
- “I can’t be afraid people are going to leave me, not like me, or leave angry comments because of what I am saying. I need to do this in love for Christ to share what He has done and where He has guided me.”
- “It is crucial when we share, we are aware of how we are speaking to others.”
- “We can’t bottle Christ. We can’t just keep His salvation to ourselves, how selfish are we?”
- “Scripture poses the question of how willing are we for Christ? Would we die for Him? Would we risk rejection for Him? Would we risk isolation for Him? Would we risk hate? Would we risk pain for Him?
T.R. Noble said, “Not everyone will accept what we have to say, especially in this world focused on the sin of the flesh and glorifying it.”
Rejection is something that we as Christians have to accept in our lives, something that T.R. herself even mentioned. In John 15:18-19, Jesus says, “18. If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”
As Jesus Himself said if we were of the world then the world would love us but because He has chosen us; we are not of the world and thus the world will hate us. This makes me remember an article by Mike Mobley of Before the Cross entitled “Following Jesus Is Hard” where he said, “It’s possible to do a bunch of “Godly” work and have no God in the process. In fact, it’s more common than most of us think. We’ve got to get to a place of asking ourselves “do I want to do great things for Jesus?” or “do I just want Jesus, Himself?”
A.W. Tozer said, “The worth of any journey can always be measured by the difficulties encountered along the way.”
The reason I like this quote by A.W. Tozer is that it in a way represents what the journey of following Christ is all about. As A.W. Tozer himself stated, the worth of any journey is ultimately measured by the difficulties we encountered and as Christians; we are all going to face difficulties in our life and as such we have to be prepared for the trials ahead. As Christians, we are either of the world and ultimately fulfill the desires of the world or we are followers of Christ, who are willing to leave behind everything we once knew in order to embrace the new life that Jesus Christ gave to us when He died on the Cross, was resurrected and ascended to Heaven.
In the end though, following Christ is a sacrifice that many Christians aren’t fully willing to make; either due to peer pressure, fear of rejection or something else. But, as Christians and as human beings, we have to eventually ask ourselves: What Am I Willing to Lose If I Follow Christ? For me, that means leaving behind everything that I once desired and cared for and use the gifts God gave me to further His kingdom and when I die, that I leave behind a legacy that still brings people to Christ.
So, what will you do?
Will You Leave Behind Everything for Christ?
What Are You Doing Now that Leaves a Legacy?
What Will You Do When You Are Rejected by Others?
Mobley, Mike. “Following Jesus is Hard”, beforethecross.com, https://www.beforethecross.com/encouragements/following-jesus-is-hard/ , Accessed Feb 27, 2019.
T.R. Noble. “Stop Remaining Silent About Christ”, 1 Nov 2018, nobledevotionblog.wordpress.com, https://nobledevotionblog.wordpress.com/2018/11/01/stop-remaining-silent-about-christ/ , Accessed 28 Feb 2019.
Author Unknown. “2010.1.3 Following God In 2010”, https://www.slideshare.net/Pacific.Church/201013-following-god-in-2010 , Accessed 27 Feb 2019.
Author Unknown. “John 15:18 If The World Hates You It Hated Me First (gray)”, https://images.knowing-jesus.com/i/john-15-18-if-the-world-hates-you-it-hated-me-first-gray-8137 , Accessed 2 Mar 2019.
Golden, Malcolm. “You care for the land and water it; You enrich it abundantly Psalm 65:9.”, modified over 2 years ago, https://slideplayer.com/slide/10595860/ , Accessed 1 Mar 2019.
Lamb, Dominick. “How to Bear Fruit John 15:1-8.”, Modified over 9 years ago, https://slideplayer.com/slide/13088859/ , Accessed 1 Mar 2019.