This is an excerpt from Kevin W. Rhodes’ latest book, Follow Me: A Call to Authentic Discipleship. For your copy from Hopkins Publishing or for more information, just follow the link to Follow Me: A Call to Authentic Discipleship or check it out on Amazon.com.
The time will come in any believer’s life that God’s Word will confront him, his assumptions, his past beliefs, and his sin. Our response determines whether we walk with Jesus in discipleship or walk away in disbelief. The only correct response is to ask, “what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37)—no arguing, no complaining, no dissembling. It remains the only option for a heart cut deeply by sin and open to the Savior. To reject abiding by God’s will—whether the first time you hear it or after years of spiritual service—means searing the conscience with a hot iron (1 Tim. 4:2) to numb yourself to the reality of sin and step away from the love of Christ.
When you turn away from a relationship with God in the flesh, you are choosing a relationship with His adversary. Satan remains a formidable foe throughout your life upon this earth. He works through frontal assaults, attacks and feints, and fifth column efforts–all to wear down your resolve and, in the style of Stockholm Syndrome, convince you to join him as a friend. Therefore, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Pet. 5:8). But Satan is subtle in his attacks. He finds ways to convince people to blame God for the resulting spiritual chaos he himself has fostered. He lies convincingly, as do those who speak for him (Jn. 8:44). He does not mind if you quote the Bible, go to a church, or talk negatively about him. In fact, if he can convince you to do this while failing to follow Jesus in reality, he has you exactly where he wants you—lost while thinking you are saved.
Therefore, each and every time you open God’s Word and consider that inspired message, remember that the decision to turn your back on the truth presented is to turn your back on the One who died to give you that truth. Jesus came to bring grace and truth (Jn. 1:17). Jesus came to make the truth known (Jn. 8:32). Jesus came to make people holy by pointing them to God’s truth (Jn. 17:17). When we settle for inconsistencies in doctrine, we settle for less than truth. When we act as if certain portions of Scripture do not matter, we settle for less than truth. When we settle for what we have always believed without turning to the whole of God’s Word, we settle for less than truth. When we stubbornly insist we have no need to change, no need to repent, no need to obey—regardless of the specific topic—we settle for less than truth. And when we settle for less than truth, we are betraying the Savior who gave us that truth, we settle for less than discipleship, we settle for less than Jesus.