When does "too much" become a bad thing?

9. August 2012 05:00


That is the question. When it comes to being saved by grace through faith which is not from ourselves, but a gift of God (Ephesians 2:8), can we surrender our lives and follow Jesus too much? Is there a point where we (the Church, body of believers, followers of Christ, etc.) take it too literally and become extremists or radicals?

It seems like in today’s world and our culture that can be the case and even worse; it can even happen inside the Church. Why is it for example when a new believer is so excited to follow Christ, we tend to immediately go to the thought “Oh, I remember when I was like that” or “He/She will be more normal when some time passes” and then say “That’s great! Great job!” in a pat yourself on the back kind of way. Or when we come across someone who has believed for quite some time and they are “on fire” so to speak and strive to live just like Jesus tells us to in the Bible, we typically think “He/She is taking the Bible way too literally”, or “that person is just an extremist or radical”. Last example and a little more obvious is when non believers look at a believer who is living for Christ, think that person is crazy or a radical? This one makes more sense because if we are following Christ, the world won’t agree with the way we are living. But what about the other examples? What about believers looking at other believers? Why are we not embracing these people in their walk with the Lord and why are we not finding strength and encouragement through them?

It all comes down to scripture:

Matthew 22:37-39 - Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.’

If Jesus is telling us the first and greatest commandment is to love God with all of our heart, soul, and mind, wouldn’t you think then that God should be the first thing on our minds in everything we do in life? I can’t seem to read this scripture myself and think anything else but God must come first, in all and every area of my life regardless of my circumstance.

Mark 10:17-27 - As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. "Good teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"

"Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good— except God alone.  You know the commandments: 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.' "Teacher," he declared, "all these I have kept since I was a boy."

Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." 
At this the man's face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!" The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!  It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, "Who then can be saved?" Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God."

This relates to all of us in a huge way. It’s not about following rules or doing things out of obligation to gain our salvation, rather it is surrendering every single part of our lives to Jesus Christ and believing He died on the cross and paid the penalty for our sins and that God raised him from the dead. It is about what He has done, not what we can do.  It’s about having that relationship with Christ and being saved by grace through faith. It’s an attitude of nothing else matters but Him so I will live for Him, do the will of Him, in every area of my life and strive to do it more and more as the days go on and even if I have to die for Him…

Philippians 1:21 – For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

It’s not strange that a believer wants to do everything for Christ according to scripture in all areas of his/her life; it’s strange that you don’t. What else could it mean to love someone with all of our heart, soul, and mind, if it doesn’t simply just mean to…love someone with all of our heart, soul, and mind? That means everything. It can be called radical, an extremist, a “new believer’s attitude”, really anything that you want to call it, but the question that is raised here is....is that person following Jesus too much? The answer is no, that person is not doing anything too much, and actually that person is being obedient to Christ out of love according to the Bible.

Let me just leave you here with either some encouragement or some questions to think about:

“The critical question for our generation-and for every generation-is this: If you could have heaven, with no sickness, and with all the friends you ever had on earth, and all the food you ever liked, and all the leisure activities you ever enjoyed, and all the natural beauties you ever saw, all the physical pleasures you ever tasted, and no human conflict or any natural disasters, could you be satisfied with heaven, if Christ was not there?” – John Piper

And if you could not be satisfied with that and you admit you need Christ, are you living like that? Are you really thinking of Jesus Christ and how to glorify God in every area of your life or are you just picking and choosing areas that you prefer? When you see someone else who is living that out, how do you respond to that person?

For the believer who is striving the very best way he/she can to glorify God at all times…

Luke 6:22-23 - Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their fathers treated the prophets.

Jesus Christ died on the cross and paid the penalty for our past, present, and future sins. We are all sinners, no matter who you are and what you believe in, you sin and you are a sinner over and over again. It is by the grace of God that we are saved through the blood of Jesus Christ. Since God came down in the form of Man..being Jesus Christ…the perfect Man…who was without sin, He died for us, took our sins and paid our penalty. Praise God! He loves us so much and forgives us of our sin He actually sacrificed His one and only son for us.

I hope for the person who does not believe, that you come to know who Jesus Christ is and enter a relationship with Him and realize He is the way, the truth, and the life. I hope for the person who calls himself/herself a Christian, but does not live in the truth according to scripture and does not fully believe the Bible by making exceptions for your sins that you question if you have really entered into a relationship with Christ and if you haven’t, to do so. And I hope for the believer in Jesus Christ, that you are strengthened and encouraged by His word, by His love, and that you are spurred on to live fully for Christ.

This is a guest post by Mike Mobley who authors Before The Cross.  You can contact him on Facebook or Twitter and you can like Before The Cross on Facebook or follow them on Twitter.  

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