Are you a Christian, or do you follow Christ?

I've always struggled with the fact that, when Jesus talked about the cost of following himself, most people weighed it and decided it was too great. Just a couple people followed. What I struggle with isn't that... That seems right when you consider Jesus calling people give everything up to follow him. What is confusing is the fact that churches today are packed with tons of people. Now that I live in Southern California, I see some pretty crazy-big churches.

Why are a lot of people today weighing the cost of following Jesus and then following him? Sadly, it's because we've created a new cost of following that most "Christian" churches have agreed upon as being O.K. to get you into heaven someday. It's preached in churches, taught at many of the big "Christian" organizations, magazines, and radio stations. So, instead of trading away our lives and taking up crosses, we can have our normal life (except, add on going to church and trying not to swear) and go to heaven. Almost all churches have signed off on this being O.K., so we think it's fine. How is this any better than the Catholic's indulgences in the 1500s? We're making an easier way to follow Christ.

Newsflash: God never changes. To truly follow Christ, you still need to treat him like a treasure in a field where you actually give up everything to follow him. You need to do what the rich young ruler could not do -- physically trade in this life for the next one. You need to do what Jesus told many crowds of people to do -- take up your cross and die with him. Our churches don't like to talk about these ones, though. With our technological advances now, and life insurance, and ways to save for retirement... We now tell "Christians" that they need to be "responsible" and "a good steward of the life God gave you." Do you think that's what Jesus would be saying to the churches today?

If Jesus were calling people to follow himself at your church, we both know that only a few people from your church would actually follow him. That's what bothers me. Why is following Christ so easy now? Because we are being led to believe that Jesus isn't requiring as much as he used to. Millions of people are going to be very shocked one day. "But, Lord, I went to church, gave 12%, served in the nursery, and prayed to accept Jesus?!"

We follow other people in the church, we follow Christian media, we follow pastors... There is this huge wave of "Christians" who are called followers of Christ by the church but wouldn't be called followers of Christ by Jesus. We follow this wave and then get upset when someone (like myself) tells us that you might as well not be calling yourself a "follower of Christ"... Because Jesus sure wouldn't call you that. I just don't want you to be shocked on that day. Don't be expecting a "well done" unless you're actually and physically following him. That, my friends, is the clearest thing in scripture. Don't listen to the church... Listen to Jesus.