Why should people follow Jesus Christ as His disciples? Is it only to avoid the fires of hell and receive the blessings of heaven? Well, Jesus warns us often about hell in the Gospels as a powerful reason for repenting of our sins and turning to God in faith. For people who already think they have everything this life can offer, the danger of hell may be the only way to get through to them about their need for salvation. But Jesus also promised His followers the joy of eternal life now on this earth. Heaven begins in our hearts the moment we give up control of our lives and surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. From that born again experience, we receive the Holy Spirit, God Himself inside us. The Spirit then empowers us to follow the narrow path of wisdom and enjoy the Lord’s love, peace, and kindness. The Christian life is supposed to be a life of abundant joy.
As we see in today’s passage in Proverbs, there are many blessings that come to us in this life as we walk with Christ. First, we are told that really following Christ means studying His Word and letting it shape and guide our hearts (Proverbs 3:1,3). By allowing God’s truth to transform us from the inside out, we find a long life and peace (v. 2). Now remember that the promises of Proverbs are generally but not always true. God in His sovereignty may choose to take a faithful Christian home to heaven before they reach old age. But in most cases following God’s Word will lead to a life of good health and low stress (v. 8) as we learn to trust God more and more (v. 5), especially in the middle of great trials. Many people sadly die long before they should because their lives of hard living have destroyed their bodies and souls; this is not God’s best for us as believers! Obeying the Lord will also build strong character traits in us like honesty, diligence (being a hard worker), and reliability. These are qualities that other people, both Christians and unbelievers, will respect and respond positively to (v. 4). Generally speaking, Christians will prosper in their work and their family and friendship relationships because God’s way of putting others before ourselves leads to cooperation and peace. Next, by embracing God’s wisdom, Christians will also find guidance and direction for their lives, rather than wandering through life without purpose like so many others (v. 6). Also, while not all Christians are guaranteed riches or a comfortable lifestyle, the general principle remains that “you can’t out give the Lord.” By tithing (giving 10% of their income to the church), Christians honor the Lord and can expect that He will give them financial peace (vv. 9-10). Again, this may not mean big incomes or never struggling to make important purchases. But it means living within your means and avoiding the burdens of debt and knowing that you are giving God control of your money, because it all belongs to Him anyways. There is a special peace that comes from trusting God with your money and stuff, a peace that God wants all Christians to enjoy. Finally, following Christ protects you from the guilt and sorrows of sin. God gives Christians boundaries in His Word to protect us from evil, not to keep us from what is good for us. When we start to drift off course and give into sin, the Lord will correct us through the counsels of Scripture and our Spirit-led consciences; this is a sign that we are indeed His beloved children (vv. 11-12).
So, what do you think? Read Proverbs 3:1-12 today and decide for yourself: Is following Jesus Christ worth it? My prayer is that we will all shout in our hearts, “Yes!”
The Text (Proverbs 3:1-12)
1 My son, do not forget my law, But let your heart keep my commands;
2 For length of days and long life And peace they will add to you.
3 Let not mercy and truth forsake you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart,
4 And so find favor and high esteem In the sight of God and man.
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from evil.
8 It will be health to your flesh, And strength to your bones.
9 Honor the Lord with your possessions, And with the firstfruits of all your increase;
10 So your barns will be filled with plenty, And your vats will overflow with new wine.
11 My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor detest His correction;
12 For whom the Lord loves He corrects, Just as a father the son in whom he delights.
Questions to Think About
- Why did you first want to be a Christian?
- Since accepting Christ, has your commitment to follow Him been strengthened by other reasons like those from today’s passage? Why do you still follow Him today?
- Have you ever tried to persuade someone else to become a Christian? What reasons did you give them for why they should accept and follow Christ?