Rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ. 1 Peter 4:13 (NIV) Now why does Peter say, “Rejoice…that you participate in the sufferings of Christ?” Because if you share in his sufferings, you will also share in his glory (4:13). Christ was despised and rejected in this world, but now...
“I will remove from you your heart of stone.” Ezekiel 36:26 (NIV)
Here are a few worthless stones in the human heart that can keep you from following Jesus Christ:
1. Peer pressure. “How can you believe since you accept glory from one another but do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?” John 5:44
It’s always difficult to stand out from a crowd. It’s true wherever political correctness reigns—in school, in business, or on a building site. If your heart is set on the approval of others, it will keep you from following Christ.
2. Money. “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” Mark 10:25
Jesus said this after speaking with a wealthy young man, “Sell what you have, give to the poor, and come follow me.” Wealth had captured the man’s heart, so he didn’t follow Jesus. If your heart is set on becoming or staying wealthy it will keep you from following Christ too.
3. Loved ones. “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” Matthew 10:37
Your spouse is not a Christian, and you know that following Christ would cause tension. Or your spouse has died, and since he or she didn’t follow Christ, you would feel disloyal to them if you did. Or maybe you’ve given your heart to friends—a boyfriend, girlfriend, or group of friends—who do not love Christ. If another person keeps you from following Christ, he or she is controlling you. That person has become, in effect, your god.
Are any of these things keeping you from following Christ?