Is My Dedication Really to Christ?
In essence this is what my 10 year meant when she asked,
“If you had the choice of being killed by a sword or dying for Jesus, which would you choose?”
Me: “I would choose to die for Jesus.”
10 year old: “But that would really hurt?”
Me: “Yes, but only for a short time. An eternity in hell would hurt a lot more. Remember what Jesus said, ‘So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven,but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven (Matt. 10:32-33). So even if the sword is very painful, I would rather choose Jesus than claiming he isn’t my Savior.”
10 year old: “Oh, yeah. That makes sense. I would rather die in my sleep or of old age than by a sword, but I’d rather have Jesus too.”
Oh, how I love my kid’s questions! This one has allowed us to unpack so much throughout the past couple of days. It has been amazing. It’s like everything that we have been reading in our Bibles over the years is coming together in and understanding is blossoming! (Happy Dance, Happy Dance!)
This question came while we were reading the Hanukkah story. Hanukkah actually means dedication and celebrates the day when the Temple in Jerusalem was once again dedicated to God after being desecrated by the Greeks.
Jesus celebrated this festival of dedication. He knew what it meant to be dedicated. His dedication to redeem our relationship with God that our sin destroyed led him from Heaven to Earth.
He spent 30 years preparing, so he could live with a fierce focus that would lead to a physically excruciating end on the cross.
He overcame death and destroyed Satan’s hold on us, so that we could live eternally with God.
God sustained Jesus so he could have that kind of dedication.
We have the same choice to live with this kind of dedication. I know it seems out of our reach and if we were trying to do it by ourselves, I would completely agree that it is impossible. But with God all things are possible. With God, Jesus, and the amazing gift of the Holy Spirit, we can overcome. We are called to overcome, not by our own power, but by God’s might!
And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
– Hebrews 12:1b-3
Webster defines dedication as:
The Questions We Must Ask Ourselves
Are we really willing to dedicate ourselves to Christ?
If you are reading this blog, more than likely you at some point in your life decided to follow Jesus. You were overcome by knowing that even if you were the only person that had sinned, Jesus still would have gone to the cross to save you. The truth is we all have sinned and should all be overcome that Jesus dedicated himself to rescuing us from our sin.
Some of us, upon receiving his gift of grace, fall completely into digging into the Bible, learning all we can so that we can follow Christ. While some of us, just talk about how we follow God, but never really understand where he is leading, so we miss following his path, all the while proclaiming that we are on it.
(If you haven’t decided to follow Christ yet, email us, I’d love to chat with you. Honestly, I’d love to chat with you either way!)
So how do we know we are following Christ?
Our dedication to following Christ starts with reading his word. We pick up our Bible and read it. The fact that we have access to God’s word is a miracle in and of itself, but that’s a topic for another post. Don’t waste the miracle sitting in front of you. Take hold of the Bible. Even if it’s confusing now, just read it and pray for wisdom. God will give it to you. Then, prepare your heart.
Dedication Starts with Preparation
We have no idea how to dedicate our lives to God if we don’t prepare ourselves for daily dedication. This daily dedication starts by putting what we read into practice. Yep, it’s difficult. Some days more difficult than others, but it’s something we must do. If we don’t do it, then we are deceiving ourselves into thinking we are following Christ!
That’s a bold statement but one James does not shy away from. He wants to make sure that if we say we are followers of Christ, then we actually follow Him.
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.
Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.
But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
– James 1:22-25
Dedication to Christ is a daily choice.
We get to daily choose to:
- Recognize that Jesus has all Authority on Earth and is our Lord and Savior
- Recognize that Jesus also has authority over all the details of our lives
- Trust that He has gifted his followers with the Holy Spirit
- Believe that his Holy Spirit will be our Counselor and guide us to fuller understanding
- Lean into His strength and wisdom through prayer
- Plunge ourselves into His Word like a thirsty soul longing for a sustaining drink
- Dig into the Bible to find answers to how we should live our lives
- Live for Jesus no matter what the cost
Another Question that Lead to a Better Answer
Later that day, my daughter had another question in regards to whether or not I would allow her to do something.
Instead of just saying “yes” or “no” and explaining my reasoning, I chose a different option this time. One that takes more time, but will serve her much better in the long run. I asked her,
“What does the Bible says about it? Do you believe Jesus would want you to do it?”
She didn’t know any verses right off that would tell her “yes” or “no,” so the next day we pulled out the Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, our Bibles, and read through many passages to which her question pertained. There are many more she can still read to solidify what God’s will is in regards to her question.
The answer she started to find in the Bible did not line up with what she wanted to do, so now she has a choice and she gets to choose. Will she continue to dedicate her life to Jesus or will she dedicate it to something else?
As a parent, I pray that I will take advantage of these opportunities to continue guiding her and our other children in the right direction, helping them sort the truth from the lies, and showing them that even when we fail spiritually, Jesus’ grace is sufficient for us.
As followers of Christ, I realize we each get to decide every day if we will continue in dedication to Christ or if we will choose dedication to self. Just so we don’t get complacent, we should ask ourselves often,
“Is my dedication really to Christ?”