No Turning Back :: By Nathele Graham

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service (Romans 12:1).

Songs and music can bring long-buried memories to mind. I can hear the opening notes of a song I haven’t heard in decades and will remember the words and the melody, which isn’t always good. I grew up in the ’60s, and songs were beginning to have very suggestive words; and today it’s even worse. Many secular songs have lyrics that should make a Christian blush.

It’s good to memorize Psalms in order to write praises to the Lord on your heart, to give you strength when you are weak, and to keep the Lord on your lips. There are many Christian songs that can do the same thing. When faced with a choice between a secular path and one that honors Christ, a song that strengthens my resolve is titled “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus.” A simple tune with simple words that reminds me of the decision I made to follow Jesus.

I have decided to follow Jesus;

I have decided to follow Jesus;

I have decided to follow Jesus;

No turning back, no turning back.

Each person has a decision to make. The first decision is whether to accept the free gift of salvation that is offered to each one of us. For some, this decision can mean loss of friends and family. For some, it can even mean death. In the United States, we haven’t come to the point where Christianity is punishable by death; but little by little, Christian values are being criminalized. China has made owning or selling a Bible a criminal offence; Christians will be beheaded in Muslim nations; North Korea will imprison and torture Christians; and the list goes on.

The decision to follow Jesus is the most important choice in your life because it makes an eternal difference.

According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain (Philippians 1:20-21).

Eternal life comes only through faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The choice to follow Jesus may cost you friends, family, or even your life; but you must decide to follow Him.

The world behind me, the cross before me;

The world behind me, the cross before me;

The world behind me, the cross before me;

No turning back, no turning back.

Temptations will always come our way. Before deciding to follow Jesus, you had no moral standard for behavior. If sin crossed your path, you would embrace it. The world has standards set by Satan, so when you decide to live with your boyfriend or girlfriend without the benefit of marriage, you choose to follow Satan and sin. Once you have accepted Jesus for salvation, your choices need to change. Instead of following the ways of the world/Satan, follow Jesus.

And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me (Mark 8:34).

Study your Bible and apply God’s Truth to your life. God’s view of sin has never changed; so when you’re faced with a decision of morality, use Scripture as your guide. It might be difficult to deny the lust of the flesh, but remember the price Jesus paid on the cross. Then take up your cross, put the world and its desires behind you, and follow Jesus.

Though none go with me, still I will follow,

Though none go with me, still I will follow,

Though none go with me, still I will follow,

No turning back, no turning back.

The decision to follow Jesus can cost you friendships. People you grew up with may look upon you as a “Bible thumper” and turn their back on you. That can hurt and cause you to question your decision or compromise God’s word. Keep in mind that each person has to make their own decision to follow Jesus or follow the world.

Even some people who claim to be Christians will resent it if you choose God’s way instead of Satan’s. “Don’t judge me” they exclaim, but forget that Scripture gives Christians the guidelines which God set for us to follow.

Don’t be discouraged if your friends choose the wrong path and you seem to be walking that narrow path alone.

Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it (Matthew 7:13-14).

Keep your eyes open because you can be sure that there are others in your same situation who feel as if they are walking alone. Yoke yourself with fellow Christians who are walking that narrow path of following Jesus rather than yoking yourself with the world. Remember, too, that those friends who refused to go with you are still watching you, so be an example to them. Let your joy of following Jesus encourage others to follow.

My cross I’ll carry, till I see Jesus;

My cross I’ll carry, till I see Jesus;

My cross I’ll carry, till I see Jesus;

No turning back, no turning back.

When Jesus was crucified, everyone knew the meaning of the cross. It was an instrument of death and also one of torture and humiliation. Jesus chose the cross. He allowed Himself to be beaten beyond recognition, and then He carried His cross through the streets to the place where nails were pounded into His body. He was stripped of His clothing and hung there for all to mock. He allowed this to happen because He loves us. There was no other way for our salvation to be purchased except through His sacrifice.

When we accept the fact that we are sinners and need His shed blood as the only sacrifice to take our sin away, then we owe Him our allegiance.

And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple (Luke 14:27).

Unless we’re willing to take up our cross, we cannot be His disciples. If you hold on to the sins of this world rather than embracing Jesus, then you will never learn to follow Him. Does that literally mean to get a chunk of wood and carry it around? No, but it does mean that we choose daily to die to self. The cross was a means of death, and we need to die to sin and live for Christ.

Will you decide now to follow Jesus?

Will you decide now to follow Jesus?

Will you decide now to follow Jesus?

No turning back, no turning back.

Jesus is calling to you. He’s asking you to either accept His free gift of salvation or, if you already claim His grace, He’s asking you to take up your cross and follow Him.

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me (Revelation 3:20).

So, what’s your decision? There are benefits of following Him. The world offers sin and temporary pleasure. That comes with a high price.

Taking what isn’t yours brings prison. Sexual promiscuity brings disease. Lies bring stress, upset, and illness. Rejection of Jesus brings eternal death. When you decide to follow Jesus you will find peace. You may have to pay the penalty of your sin – for example, AID’s won’t go away, or prison may be where you live, but eternal life is yours through faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus gives you the peace that only comes through Him; and the world cannot offer anything like it. Satan can only offer a mockery of God’s peace.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:23).

Make your decision to follow Jesus today, then don’t turn back.

God bless you all,

Nathele Graham

twotug@embarqmail.com

www.straitandnarrowministry.com

ron@straitandnarrowministry.com

Ron and Nathele Graham’s previous commentaries archived at http://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html

All original scripture is “theopneustos,” God breathed.

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