Jesus’ followers belong to a different world
Published 8:24 am Thursday, May 25, 2023
From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham
Dear Rev. Graham: The church today seems much the same as the world. What does it mean to take up the cross of Christ, and would this make the church stronger? – B.D.
Dear B.D.: While our nation is seeing an increase of crime, immorality, adultery, drunkenness, irreverence, infidelity, and open apostasy, millions of professing Christians have forgotten the Scripture that says, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” (Matthew 16:24).
Jesus regarded His followers as a select company who belonged to a different world. Many of the religious people of His day dressed in religious garb that belonged to this world – a world ruled by the prince of darkness, a world dominated by pride, ambition, hate, jealousy, greed, and falsehood. Jesus warned the disciples to be loyal to His teachings and principles. He told them that they were to set their affection on things above. He also warned them that they would find things exceedingly difficult.
Refusing to conform to worldly principles and practices and living under the lordship of Christ, they became marked men. He told them that the world would hate them. They could not make their light shine by sinking to a worldly level. It was only by abiding in Christ and living under the ruling power of His Holy Spirit that the world could be elevated.
It was this very reason that the distinction between the lives of those who lived for this world and those who lived for Christ was so clear. It made a deep impression on a godless society, and countless people embraced the Christian faith because those who followed Jesus outthought, outlived, and out loved their neighbors. Christians should dare to be different. The power and progress of Christian society depends on its likeness to Jesus Christ.
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)