“I am safe, even though I am following the desires of my own stubborn heart.” (Deuteronomy 29:19)
Following Jesus Christ is not easy. Jesus never promised his followers an easy road, or pie in the sky. In fact, to be honest with you, I never really had any major problems until I accepted Christ as my Savior. Yet, accepting Christ is the greatest thing that has ever happened in my life. I believe people just don’t want to pay the price for following Christ.
We probably all know someone who prayed to receive Christ as their Savior, but now they seem to have no commitment to him. What happened? As I study scripture, I find three categories of people who just can’t or won’t keep a relationship with Christ. First, there are those who fall by the wayside because of the persecutions and trials of Christianity. Even when Christ was on the earth, many of those who saw him with their own eyes, and heard him with their own ears, buckled under his teachings because what he said was difficult for them to understand and follow. That is why we read in John 6:66 – “Many of Jesus’ followers turned back and would not go with him anymore.”
Second, there are those who pray a prayer asking for forgiveness, saying they are committing their hearts and lives to Christ. They possibly show up to church for a few weeks or months, but then seem to simply disappear. Probably the best explanation for these people is found in the Parable of the Sower that we find in Matthew chapter 13. They are like seed sown on poor soil that simply didn’t take root.
But there is a third set of people who can’t or won’t keep a relationship with Christ. These are the people who pray the prayer for salvation, thinking they are in good standing with God because they got their “get out of hell free” card stamped by Christ. God says of these individuals, “they should not congratulate themselves, thinking, ‘I am safe, even though I am following the desires of my own stubborn heart.” (Deuteronomy 29:19). God says that attitude “would lead to utter ruin!” These persons think they can mock God by playing Russian Roulette with eternity. There are a lot of these individuals who might think they are following the church into eternity – but they are in for a rude awakening.
We each need to allow God to search our hearts and discover why we prayed to receive Christ in the first place. As well as what we have done with that commitment since. Are we content thinking we got our “get out of hell free” card stamped, so now we can live according to the desires of our stubborn hearts, because we have eternity nailed down? This attitude will lead to total ruin. We must ask ourselves if we only want God’s free gift, or do we have a desire to connect with the Giver?