It's the appeal that ends many an evangelistic speech. But what exactly does it mean?
‘Why are you so polite with me, always saying 'Yes, sir,' and 'That's right, sir,' but never doing a thing I tell you? These words I speak to you are not mere additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundation words, words to build a life on.’ (Jesus in Luke 6:46-47, The Message)
ARE YOU into your money or do you share the lot, like Jesus? Into the entertainment culture (gagging for the next film) or sold out, like Jesus? Are you living for happy families and nice holidays - or are you laying your life down for your brothers and sisters like Jesus?
Jesus Himself lived a life of drastic simplicity. He was devoted to His mission and threw out everything that might compromise that call. And He said, "A student is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the student to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master."
Christians can be as guilty of glib clichés as any politician or pop song. How many times have you heard someone say something like "I gave my life to Jesus"? (How often have you said it?)
Gave your life, eh? Your whole life? And - to Jesus?
We'd better check which Jesus we're talking about here. Is it the Broadway Jesus, busy being a "superstar"? The quiet hippy who gives us peace, man? Or maybe the "babyjesus" (all one word) who lies on a bed of straw surrounded by prezzies in Santa wrapping paper
Maybe you believe in something much more sound. Jesus is the Son of God, raised from the dead, right? "Jesus Christ is Lord".
But even that can be too easy. What does "Lord" actually mean in our day and age? (The House of Lords?) Such a word can too easily be just religious jargon.
Many songs are sung Sunday by Sunday which applaud Jesus and decorate Him with titles - but the singers too often ignore large sections of what He actually said. Is Jesus really our Lord, our master, our teacher?
The real Jesus demands total dedication. As He put it, "Any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:33).
Don't rush to neutralise this shocking statement with some logic-twisting get-out clause (which usually involves giving up everything "in your heart" while changing little about what you own or how you live). Share your money. Share your house and give up your car. Live for Jesus and His people. Full time.
Otherwise we won't be "like Him". We'll be holding on tight to privileges that Jesus denied Himself.