By Billy Graham | First Published: March 03, 2014
Jesus said, “Whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it—lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish” (Luke 14:27-30).
We face three problems when we come to the Word of God. First, there’s an intellectual problem. When I was going to school, science seemed to be against the Word of God. Today many scientists believe in God. But the intellectual problem that I faced is one that you may face, too.
I had to decide who Jesus Christ was. Was He the Son of the living God, “the way, the truth, and the life?” (John 14:6). Was He the embodiment of all truth as He claimed—all scientific truth, psychological truth, moral truth, spiritual truth? That’s a decision that you have to make about Jesus Christ—an intellectual decision.
The Bible has something to say about the mind. We’re to “love the Lord with all our heart, soul, and mind” (Cf. Matthew 22:37). “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5). The mind is important. But remember that the mind has been affected by sin. You cannot come to Jesus Christ intellectually alone. That step has to be taken by faith. It was by faith that I said, “Lord Jesus, I believe You are who You claim to be, the Son of the living God, the Creator of the universe, who died on the cross for my sins and rose again for my justification. I believe You are coming back to set up Your Kingdom. I know that You are my Savior, and by faith I accept You.” When I did that, He came into my heart and made me a new person. And He will do that for you.
The second problem that we face in coming to Jesus is a moral problem—meeting the high standards of Christ. Jesus Christ demands first place in everything. You come to Christ realizing that you will have to pay a price. You can’t drag those dirty sins with you. You will have to quit lying. You will have to quit sleeping with that woman or man who is not your spouse. You will have to quit cheating in school or at work. You will have to invest study time in the Word of God to show yourself “approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed” (2 Timothy 2:15). All of these things are costly. Are you willing to pay the price?
You can’t live a clean life today, except one way: with Christ in your heart. The Apostle Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). The Bible says in Romans 6:14, “Sin shall not have dominion over you.” There was a time when sin ruled in your life. But when you come to Christ, sin no longer rules. And He can help you to meet the high standards that He sets in morality and ethics.
Coming to Christ isn’t going to make you perfect. Suppose you accept Christ and you slip and fall. What happens? Immediately you need to say, “Lord, I’m sorry. Forgive me. I turn from that sin. I don’t ever want to commit it again.” You confess it, and He is faithful and just to forgive you of your sin. If you have sinned, go to Him and say, “Lord, I have sinned. I’m sorry. I surrender.”
The third problem in coming to Christ is emotional in nature, because, you see, we are made of mind and will and emotion. God wants lordship over your career, your marriage, your friendships, your morals—He wants everything surrendered to Him.
Nobody says that you have to cry when you come to Christ, or that you have to laugh when you come to Christ. But you can’t look at that cross and realize its deep significance without being emotionally moved that God sent His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to shed His blood and die for you so that you may have forgiveness of sin and eternal life.
God makes three calls to you. First, He calls you to the Person of Jesus Christ: “‘Come now, and let us reason together,’ says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow’” (Isaiah 1:18). They can be made as white as snow because of the cross. He calls you to Christ. It’s not a church call, it’s not a family call, it’s not a national call. It’s a call to a person, the Person of Christ.
Second, God calls you to consecration. The word consecration means to “set apart.” We can do the dedicating, but only God can consecrate: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God” (Romans 12:1).
Think of your life as a house. You have a ring of keys to that house. When you respond to the call of Christ, you give God the key to the front door of your house. You commit your life to Christ as Savior and Lord. In response to God’s call to consecration, you give the other keys to God. For a mother or a father it means that you give your baby to Christ. For a businessman it means that you give God the key to your business. For a student it means that you give God the key to your education. You give God the key to your romance, to your future marriage. He becomes Lord. The Bible tells us, “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him” (Colossians 2:6).
Get to know the Bible. If you are going to be a dentist or a lawyer or a businessman, or whatever your vocation, get a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. Many people haven’t committed themselves to any philosophy or ideology or religious faith. They are just waiting for a wind to come along to blow them in any direction. I am asking you to commit yourself to the Lord Jesus Christ. Count the cost, surrender all to Him, let Him be your Lord. March for Jesus Christ, with love in your heart, surrendered and committed.
Third, God calls you to serve. I wish we had a million young people right now who would say, “Lord, I’ll go where You want me to go and be what You want me to be.” God wants nurses and doctors and businessmen and politicians—Christian leaders who are ready to pay the price and step out and serve Christ.
But you will have to make that first decision, take that first step. You will have to say, “Yes, by faith I receive You, Lord, into my heart.”
I’m asking you to do that right now. Say, “I receive Christ. I want to follow Christ. I want to give all my keys to Him, no matter what the cost. I’m willing to pay the price, whatever it is.” ©1979 BGEA
Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version.