March 20, 2008
What is Christian dedication to you?
Christian dedication could be one of any number of things: the dedication of a Christian baby to the cause of Christ; the dedication of something as “Christian” such as a song, a building, etc.; or the choice of a Christian to be dedicated to Christ in all that they do. The choice of dedicating one’s life to Christ is a life-altering decision, and one that, therefore, should be made with great care. Christ calls us to a life of pain and rejection for His sake. He calls us to pick up our cross daily to follow Him – our backbreaking, overwhelming, self-denying cross. A life of dedication to Christ is one of discipline, of self-denial, and of following wherever He may call – discipline to discern the will of God, self-denial so we can best fit into God’s plans, and following wherever He leads ready to serve in any capacity He sees fit.
Living a life of dedication to Christ involves discipline. As Christians, we are called to follow Christ’s example. Jesus’ days were filled with teaching, healing, and other miracles, but, according to Luke 5:15-16, He would often slip away to pray and commune with God. Jesus believed prayer to be such an important discipline that He taught His disciples exactly how they should pray in Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:2-4. Part of the discipline of the Christian life is creating the time to come before God in prayer. He demonstrated the importance of Scripture in His many references to the Old Testament from direct quotations (during His temptation by Satan at the beginning of His ministry, for example) to His more hidden references (for example, referring to the first and last murders of righteous men in the Hebrew Scriptures [Matthew 23:35, Luke 11:51]). Jesus often employed scripture, not only in resisting temptation, but also in proclaiming Himself and showing the errors of the Pharisees and Sanhedrin, as in Matthew 21-22. Christians should be constantly meditating on Scripture, as it says in Joshua 1:8, “day and night”.
Christians are called to emulate Christ in all that He did. Jesus’ entire purpose for coming to this world was self-denying. To save mankind from almost inevitable, eternal damnation, Jesus came, giving up His glorified position with God, was incarnate, and suffered and died as a human. For the three years leading up to this, Jesus lived to help others, from feeding the 5,000 in the mountains near the Sea of Galilee (John 6:1-14) to talking with the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4) to healing the slave of the high priest who came to arrest Jesus in Gethsemane (Luke 22:51). If we are supposed to emulate Christ, then we, too, should be living for the benefit of others. We should be willingly serving according to our God-given talents.
Finally, Christians are dedicated to following Christ wherever He may lead. This may mean that we are to live “normal” lives in the business realm working a nine-to-five office job, or He may call us to live in another country as a missionary. Regardless of where Jesus’ call leads, the Great Commission applies. Jesus said to “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations” (Matthew 28:19a). So often the command “go” is misinterpreted to mean that Christians are called to travel to some far off country and spend the rest of their lives toiling away for the cause of Christ. Although this may be the case for some, “go” may mean to go back to the office and provide a Christ-like example for your coworkers. “All the nations” means exactly that: all nations. This could mean traveling to Europe or Africa, or it could mean staying and ministering exactly where you are.
Christians are called to a life of discipline, self-denial, and following the call of Christ wherever it leads. After accepting the life of a Christian, a person must understand that his life is no longer his own, but Christ’s. We are to develop our discipline to that we become more in tune with the will of Christ and are able to more easily discern what it is He wants us to do. We are also to deny our natural selfish desires and allow ourselves to be used in the will of Christ however He chooses to use us. Lastly, we are to take what we learn of God’s will through discipline, prepare ourselves to serve Christ, and go wherever He leads us ready to work to bring glory to Christ’s name.