What must we leave behind if we are to follow Christ?

The simplest answer is that we must leave behind idolatry. That’s the very first commandment—you shall have no other gods before me. They don’t have to be obvious representations of the divine; they don’t have to be stone or wood or marble. There are all sorts of gods: education, athletics, marriage, choice, power, self-expression, beauty, achievement. Whatever you give your whole life for, there’s your idol.

If only I had ______ then I would be happy.

If only I had ______ I’d be worth something.

If only I had ______ I could truly live a fulfilled life.

Whatever you put in the blank, that’s your god. That’s what you are living for. That’s what you worship. Marriage may be in your blank, or your dream job, or better parents, or better kids, or fewer pounds, or more influence. Many of these are good desires, but they must not be ultimate. They are not meant to be gods.

What might a Jerusalem Council like the one in Acts 15 say to us? What might God be requiring us to give up as disciples of Christ? What might a Spirit-inspired council say to the hard-charging corporate guy who sees everything and everyone as a means for his advancement? What might it say to the woman obsessed with beauty and status, living from tabloid to tabloid, from gossip to gossip? What about the college student who lives for the party scene? Or the “good” college student, who thinks he has to get good grades and go to grad school?

This may all seem like normal life, but it is not normal Christian life. Remember David Wells’ line: worldliness is whatever makes sin look normal and righteousness look strange.

Christians are not going to look like everyone else. They are not going to do what everybody else does. They will stand out. It’s hard to carry a cross without leaving some baggage behind.

Print Friendly

Comments:


16 thoughts on “What Must You Leave Behind?”

  1. Mike Gantt says:

    It’s ironic that within a week of posting “The Scandal of the Semi-Churched,” you now post “What Must You Leave Behind?” – a warning against idols.

    The extensive comment thread on the former post provides numerous witnesses who’ve declared that in order to be true to their Lord they had to leave behind the idol of organized church. For this they have been rewarded with villification as “haters,” “rebellious,” and worse – just as their Lord was treated in His day. Blessed are those who consider the reproach of Christ a greater treasure than whatever earthly rewards were available to them.

    If you want examples for folks who take your warning about idols seriously, you need look no further than the believers who have had courage enough to, like their father Abraham, “go out not knowing where they were going.”

  2. anaquaduck says:

    To whittle down the argument as Mike appears to be doing is to miss again the heart of the argument like ignoring the opening paragraphs of KDY’s previous post.

    This current post gives me the opportunity to reflect on various aspects on seeking to live a life pleasing to God. Weighing up what is worldly thinking & what is godly thinking, even Abraham struggled with this in his life,a wimp of a man at times hiding behind lies & prone to fear.

  3. A brother says:

    Hit me right between the eyes.
    …but I want med school (and, obvs, the profession that follows) so badly…
    pls, pray for a brother.

  4. IF YOU DO NOT CHOOSE TO LET THIS WORLD GO BY BEING POOR TO PUT YOUR FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST YOU WILL GO INTO A LAKE OF FIRE. FOR ONLY MAN IN THIS WORLD OF SATAN IS TO BE OF GOD AND WOMAN OF MAN, DO YOU BELIEVE WHEN JESUS CHRIST COME BACK HE GOING TO LET YOU BRING YOUR HOUSE, LAND AND BUSSINESS. MONEY WITH YOU (NO) IF YOU HAVE IT YOU WILL GO WITH IT IN TO A LAKE OF FIRE. GOD KNOW THE ONE THAT LOVE HIM HE KNOW ALL YOU WANT IS TO BE BLESS WITH SATAN HOUSE, LAND, BUSSINESS, MONEY, GOODHEALTH AND YOU DO NOT WANT TO SUFFER THE RICHES AND GOODNESS OF SATAN WORLD TO COME TO HIM THROUGH HIS SON JESUS CHRIST. THERE IS TWO SEEDS ONE IS GOOD AND ONE IS BAD, MOSES WAS THE GOOD SEED FOR HE CHOOSE TO LIVE POOR TO SERVE GOD OF THE LIVING, PHARAOH CHOOSE TO SERVE THE GOD OF THE DEAD, THIS WORLD IN TOW THOUSAND THRITEEN IS ALL SEEDS OF PHARAOH THE WHEAT FIELD IS ALL BAD. SATAN LOVE TO USE JESUS CHRIS NAME ON YOU AND THE BIBLE, A MAN ARE WOMAN THAT USE THE BIBLE IS BLIND AND IQNORANT ALSO THE PEOPLE THAT SUPPORT THEM. THE RESON JESUS CHRIST CAME TO TELL YOU TO CHOOSE TO LIVE POOR IN SATAN WORLD AND YOU DO EVERY THING BUT THAT, IT IS WRITTEN JESUS CHRIST SAID ANY MAN THAT REPENT OF WORLDLY POSSESSION AND BEAR HIS CROSS AND FOLLOW HIM WELL RECEIVE THE HOLYGHOST WILL TEACH HIM AND THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH WILLGUIDE HIM TO ALL TRUTH, THE HOLY GHOST IS THE INTER TEACHING OF JESUS CHRIST AND SPIRIT OF TRUTH (CLEVELAND ROBINSON ADD. 1830 KINGS RD APT. 227 JACKSONVILLE FL 32209)

    THE CHILDREN OF ISREAL
    When the children of isreal was in bondage they suffer the same being poor, and when God had Moses to bring them out of bondage they all suffer in the wilderness being poor for they was God children, because of our earthly father Adam disobeyed God, we all must choose to go through the same suffering being poor to come back to God. God know the children of isreal were going to live among all another nations. That is why Jesus Christ came to be the final sacrifice to tell them to choose to be poor and put their faith in him. Why must you choose to be poor? Because there is a goodness and pleasant Adam and Eve fell to, the tree of good, knowledge and evil, this world is that tree Satan the God of it, so you might like the knowledge and goodness, I know you do not like the evil that come with it. You are born of that tree that is going into a lake of fire. God love is the same for all men and women to get them to repent of Satan world to choose to suffer being poor to come to his son Jesus Christ to be save from everlasting suffering. Satan love is of his world his children love one another with his love you see it when they are celebrating Christmas also being good to one another. Man will always be subject to all disease, for he refuse to let go of the knowledge and wisdom of Satan the spirit of pride, that is why your children is born with disease, you go to Satan school for his knowledge so you may live a good life in his kingdom, a lie come to you as a comfort and appear as the truth and you go after that lie all your life (Cleveland Robinson 1830 kings rd. apt. 227 Jacksonville Fl 32209 phone no. 870-292-9039 or 904-330-0062) PP

    IF YOU CHOSE TO LET WORLDLY POSSESSION GO AS PAUL DID TO BE POOR TO HAVE FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST YOU WILL COME TO THE SAME KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING OF PAUL YOU WILL NOT HAVE TO STUDY ARE USE HIS WRITING TO PREACH ARE TEACH. THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL SHOULD HAVE CHOOES TO STAY IN THE SUFFERING IN THE WILDERNESS SLEEPING IN TENTS BEING CLOSE TO GOD TO BE SAVED FROM A LAKE OF FIRE. THE COMFORT AND RICHES OF THIS WORLD LEAD YOU TO THAT LAKE OF FIRE. TO LABOUR FOR WORLDLY POSSESSION IS FOOLISH FOR IT BRING PRESSURS TO THE HEART OF YOUR SOLE AND ALL THAT IS A ROUND YOU TO FIGHT OVER FOR IT LEAD TO EVERLASTING SUFFERING AND YOU ALL ROBBERS OF GOD. TO HAVE ANYTHING OF THIS WORLD IS TO REPENT TO BE POOR IN MONEY TO COME TO JESUS CHRIST TO HAVE IT IN THE RIGHT WAY IN THE END, A MAN ARE WOMAN THAT USE THE BIBLE TO PREACH AND SAY GOD HAVE CALL THEM IS LYING ON GOD, IF YOU WROTE A BOOK IN SUFFERING BEING POOR IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST AND WENT OUT OF THIS WORLD BEING POOR, ANOTHER MAN USE YOUR BOOK TO MAKE HIS SELF LOOK LIKE HE IS A MAN OF GOD TO LIVE A GOOD LIFE IN THIS WORLD OF SATAN WOULD YOU LIKE IT? GOD KNOW THE ONE THAT WILL CHOOSE TO SUFFER BEING POOR IN SATAN WORLD TO COME TO HIS SON JESUS CHRIST I NEED SOME HELP IN THIS LABOUR (CLEVELAND ROBINSON 1830 KINGS RD. APT. 227 JACKSONVILLE, FL 32209 PHONE NO.904-330-0062 OR 870-292-9039)

    IS IT NOT WITTING WE ARE TO REPENT OF THIS WORLD OF SATAN TO BEAR OUR CROSS AND FOLLOW JESUS CHRIST IN DOING SO YOU WILL BE GIVING YOUR SELF TO JESUS CHRIST EVERY DAY ( LUKE CH. 14 V. 26-27) THE CROSS IS YOUR SUFFERING. IF YOU LOOK TO THE COMFORTS OF THIS WORLD YOU ARE REJECTING JESUS CHRIST TO SERVE SATAN THE GOD OF THIS WORLD. THERE IS TWO GOODNESS ONE OF SATAN AND ONE OF GOD. THE ONE YOU ENJOY IS OF SATAN ALL HOLIDAYS IS OF THE WORLD. THERE IS NO SURCH THING OF HOLIDAYS IN HEAVEN. UNDERSTAND WHY JESUS CHRIST REJECTED THE GOODNESS OF THIS WORLD AND SAID FOR YOU TO ALSO YOU CAN NOT SERVE THE GOD OF THE LIGHT AND THE GOD OF DARKNESS. I BRING YOU PAIN OF TRUTH AND YOU HATE ME FOR IT YOU DO NOT BECOME BETTER BUT BECOME MORE WICKED YOU DO NOT KNOW IT. I DO. YOU DO NOT LOVE JESUS CHRIST YOU LOVE WHAT HE CAN DO FOR YOU IF I AM LYING TO YOU WHERE IS MY GAIN .YOU DO NOT GIVE ME MONEY OR HELP ME WITH THIS LABOUR AM I NOT POOR IN MONEY AS YOU ARE. EVERY YEAR YOU BRING JESUS CHRIST BACK TO THAT CROSS FOR YOUR ENJOYMENT WHEN YOU ARE TO BEAR YOUR CROSS AND FOLLOW HIM. WITH YOUR HOLIDAY OR YOU NOT TRYING TO ESCAPE THE CROSS? GIFT OF THE WORLD IS OF SATAN. ALL GOOD GIFTS IS FORM ABOVE TO HAVE THE GREATER GIFT IS TO REPENT OF THIS WORLD TO BE POOR IN MONEY TO COME TO JESUS CHRIST. TO RECEIVE THE GIFT OF LIFE SATAN CHILDREN LOVE GIVEN GIFTS FOR THEY ARE MISERABLE IT MAKE THEM FEEL GOOD. STUDYING THE BIBLE WILLNOT BRINGS YOU TO THE UNDERSTANDING OF GOD, AND IF YOU DO NOT HAVE THE UNDERSTANDING OF GOD YOU WILL NOT HAVE THE UNDERSTANDING OF SATAN THE GOD OF THIS WORLD. ADAM DISOBEYED AND EAT THE FOOD OF DEATH AND ENTER IN TO DARKNESS OF MONEY TO BUY AND SELL HOUSE, LAND, BUSINESS AND ALL YOU SEE IN THE WORLD. TO EAT OF THE FOOD OF LIFE YOU HAVE TO REPENT OF THE FOOD OF DEATH TO COME TO JESUS CHRIST THE FOOD OF LIFE. FOR JESUS SAID I AM THE BREAD OF LIFE HE THAT COME TO ME SHALL NEVER HUNGER AND HE THAT BELIEVETH ON ME SHALL NEVER THIRST. SO LET THIS WORLD OF SATAN GO TO LIVE POOR IN IT TO COME TO JESUS CHRIST. GOD CREATE MAN FOR HIM AND WOMAN FOR MAN, HE DID NOT CREATE MAN FOR MAN OR WOMAN FOR WOMAN FOR ALL MEN IS TO COME TO GOD TO SERVE GOD, AND ALL WOMEN IS TO SERVE MAN SO LET ALL MEN BE MARRIED TO JESUS CHRIST AND ALL WOMEN BE MARRIED TO MEN FOR WE ARE ALL TO HAVE THE SPIRIT OF JESUS CHRIST BEING BROTHER AND SISTER CHILDREN OF GOD. THERE WAS TWO MEN IN THE GARDON ONE HAD THE SPIRIT OF GOD THE LIGHT, THE OTHER HAD THE SPIRIT OF SATAN THE DARKNESS WITCH IS THE SERPENT YOU SEE IN THE WORLD TODAY FOR GOD PUT A CURSE ON HIM FOR HE WILL NEVER HAVE THE APPEARANCE OF A MAN ARE SPEACK AGAIN. NEW THE SPIRIT OF SATAN A THINKING SPIRIT IS IN ADAM THERE FORE ALL SEEDS OF ADAM WILL BE BORN WITH THAT SPIRIT OF PRIDE TO BE GOD TO WORK OUT YOUR OWN PROBLEMS, YOU DO THAT WITH THE BIBLE CLEVELAND ROBINSON 1830 KINGS RD APT. 227 JACKSONVILLE FL 32209 PHONE NO.870-292-9039

    This the gospel of Jesus Christ
    Adam disobey God fell into darkness so Adam and all seeds of Adam must go through longsuffering of Chastise. That is why God had Moses to tell the children of isreal they were to stay in the suffering. Do not go after the goodness and comfort of the gentile that is of the world of darkness. ( If you had a son and you told him to do not go into another man house for you know the evil that is going to come up on that house. For your son see only the goodness and disobeyed would you not chastise him to save him) for the riches and comfort of this world is going into a lake of fire. God knew the children of isreal would be scatted among all nations that is why Jesus Christ came with the gospel to preach to repent of the riches and goodness of this world also the disciple preach the same gospel to the gentile God love is to save us, Satan love is to hold us to this world of darkness. Minister use the bible preaches with Satan love of flesh they love his riches and goodness so do you that why you support them. Pride is the father of hate , lye, fear, the spirit to be god a theft create emotion of all kinds of suffering, God know the one that will choose to suffer being poor in Satan world to let the life of darkness and flesh go to be save from a lake of fire There is a lot of understanding in this written call and talk to me phone no. 870-292-9039 Cleveland Robinson

    All churches and religion in the world today is not of Jesus Christ but of Satan the god of this world, All minister that use the bible to preach have the spirit of Satan in them they work for Satan and do not know it you also do not know, they is blind and so are you, A man is to repent of worldly possession to be poor in money to come to Jesus Christ to do the work of Jesus Christ, When he do his name will be in the book of life, Satan disciple love worldly possession also you, The blind leading the blind, you go to God looking for a blessing the only blessing you will get is of your father Satan, to know Jesus Christ are walk in his foot step is to suffer as he did being poor also Moses, Paul and all disciple of Jesus Christ, they all died poor having no house, land are money you better also are you will not be with them in heaven for god is fair and just, It is by poor men you have the bible for they all chose to be poor, A man that use the bible to preach is a theft All congregation of Jesus Christ the scale should be balance you all should have chose to be poor, when you chose to be poor in Satan world you have the knowledge and understanding and come to know God, wisdom of Satan world is foolish to god you go to Satan school for his knowledge, Minister of Satan do not know what is evil, what is good if it look good and make you feel good you say its God, Satan is the God of good and evil in this world. Children of the world choose their leader also their minister. This world is lake a ship slowly going down and the people do not know for the goodness and comfort have blind them. A message is sent to them to get off the ship and they reject the message when the ship is almost down now they know but it`s too late. This world is on its way in to a lake of fire. Repent of the goodness and comforts of the world and come to Jesus Christ to be free of the world ( MATTHEW CH. 11 V.28-30 TAKE UP MY YORK AND LEARN OF ME ) ( CH. CH 10 V.21 ) CLEVELAND ROBINSON 1830 KINDS RD. APT.227 JACKSONVILL, FL. 32209 PH. NO. 870-292-9039

    A

  5. Curt Day says:

    I can agree with Kevin’s general thought here, however, I find the tests for idolatry have been oversimplified. We need a more nuanced approach in order to distinguish some gut-wrenching struggles have from idolatry.

  6. alli says:

    This is my problem. Ive always wanted to b ‘normal’ and it never happened im different always have been so been trying to be normal by changing my status in life was more important than God

  7. Larry Snyder says:

    Kevin,

    This post is fantastic! It gave me a lot to think about in my own life. People shouldn’t think pastors don’t fight these things, too, because we do. “If only I had a giant church, I’d be worth something.” The list goes on and on. Keep up the good work. May the Lord continue to bless you!

    Larry Snyder
    Pastor – Cross Creek Bible Church
    Aloha, OR

  8. Sebolelo says:

    I never realized idolatry stretches from visual gods the Bible and God Himself described. cause really my ultimate desire and now unknowingly a god is a good job… so normal a desire yet so big a sin. thank you I will now try to leave the baggage behind and find a way to put Christ in his well deserved position.

  9. I’ve read several excellent stuff here. Certainly worth
    bookmarking for revisiting. I wonder how so much effort you place to
    make this type of excellent informative website.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Kevin DeYoung


Kevin DeYoung is senior pastor of University Reformed Church (RCA) in East Lansing, Michigan, near Michigan State University. He and his wife Trisha have six young children. You can follow him on Twitter.

Kevin DeYoung's Books