You’ve probably heard that expression “a dog is for life, not just for Christmas”. It’s one of the most famous advertising slogans, first used in 1978 by the Dogs Trust, to try and tackle the number of unwanted dogs left after the festive season. It’s still used today, and many companies have also used the concept in their own branding.
Owning a dog is a big decision. It means you have to go for a walk every day, despite rain/snow/hail storms, or how tired you are. It means taking your pet into account when you make other decisions, like how long you go on holiday for. It means cleaning up after it, buying food for it, taking it to the vet if needed.
If having a pet is a big decision, what about being a Christian? Is it, as the Dogs Trust so eloquently put it, “for life”? Jesus said to his disciples:
“He said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)
Crucially, the gospel is not just about where we go when we die. It’s for life, not just for death, because accepting the gospel is not just a ticket to heaven but the start of a new life: here, now, and eternal.
Following Jesus affects your whole life – your friendships, the way you think, your habits, what you choose to do with your time. It’s about a way of life, lifelong discipleship, learning from Jesus and following Him.
Jesus said that people should know we are Christians, just by seeing how we love each other. He told us to forgive, to not live for our own success or wealth but to give and to serve.
It’s not just about what we do; deciding to follow Jesus means that we will be transformed from the inside out. Nothing will ever be the same!