January 11, 2013

“Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you.” John 6:26-27

I have been asked the same question in various forms.  Why would you do a race? Why do you go swimming? Why do you go biking or running?  Why do you exercise so hard?  I think that the folks who ask me this question in its different manifestations are generally perplexed.  I have a lifestyle of my choice that they would never have selected.

When asked this question, the implication is that there is one answer.  I “hem and haw” over my answer because I find it difficult to come up with one answer.  There are many reasons that I exercise.  It is very hard to narrow it down to one.

If I have to stick to one reason, it probably is that I don’t like how I feel when I am over-weight.  It is highly likely that I would dump my whole exercise lifestyle if it was not effective in keeping the weight off.  What would be the point?  Why give up cheesecake if my gut is going to remain unchanged whether I eat it or not?  Why do all those painful and uncomfortable abdominal exercises if they will never help me see my long-lost abs?  Why not sleep in if making time in my schedule for exercise doesn’t work at keeping the weight off?

We discover our motivations by contemplating whether we will come to the same conclusion if a desired result doesn’t happen. We will have discovered our primary motivation when our decision changes.

Why do I follow Christ?  Why do you follow Christ?

Please try to answer this question before you read further.  I have found it to be a very important question.  It is important because it reveals our primary motivation.  I have listened to many testimonies over the years about what God has done in people’s lives.  I love these testimonies to the miraculous and faithfulness of our God

God has restored relationships     

God has given words at the right time

God has rebuilt marriages  

God has kept people safe in dangerous situations 

God has given peace in loss

God has given jobs  

God has given patience in frustration

God has given children        

God has given strength in disaster

God has given food and money    

God has given friends

God has cured disease and addiction             God gives joy when it is not merited

Will you follow Christ if any or all of these are removed?  I have listened to gospel appeals that were centered on how accepting Christ will make your life better; “your marriage is in shambles, accept Christ and He will restore it”; “you have hit rock bottom, accept Christ and he will give you a better life.”  What if he doesn’t?  What if God doesn’t respond to the deal that we strike with him when we give our lives to him?

What will you give up and still follow Christ?

What is a deal breaker?  Please don’t deceive yourself in saying there is not a deal breaker.  There is always a deal breaker.  Those who were following Christ when he was here on earth had a deal breaker.  Those who were following Jesus wanted Jesus to continue to take care of them.  They had gotten their fill of loaves.  It was great.  They would never have to worry about where the next meal was coming from.  Jesus could make food out of nothing.  I think that Jesus knew that for many of those on that day the deal break was that which made their lives better.  Remove that and they would fall away.  They were not following Jesus because he was the food that endured to the end – that is what the signs attested to.  That he was the Son of God.

What if following Christ resulted in the loss of your friends and reputation?

What if following Christ resulted in the loss of your house and cars?

What if following Christ resulted in hunger and disease?

What if following Christ resulted in the loss of your children?

What if following Christ resulted in prison?

What if following Christ resulted in your life getting worse?

I have a deal break.  There is something that if you remove it than I will no longer follow Christ.

“And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.” (1 Cor. 15:14)

My motivation for following Christ is that He was raised from the dead and removed the condemnation of my sin.

“And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.” (1 Cor. 15:17)

My motivation for following Christ is that He is the Son of God.  If you were to remove that fact, then Christ is either a liar or a lunatic.  I am not following either of those.  That is my deal breaker.

Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God.  Remove everything else and my decision remains unchanged.  Where else would I go?

What is your deal breaker?

PRAYER: Lord, thank you for this clarity.  Forgive me for allowing all of your other blessings that you have shown me to cloud my motivations.  Forgive me for getting discouraged when secondary things are removed.  You are still the Son of God and I will follow you.  Father, give me the strength to endure to the end.  I know that I will face the removal of many blessings that I hold dear.  I don’t want the loss of anything to result in my falling away from you.  Lord, may you always set my mind on who you are and what you have done for me so that my primary motivation for following you with all of my heart, soul and mind is ever before me.  Amen


  1. I continually ask myself, ‘Is Your grace really sufficient?’ Is Christ alone and His amazing sacrifice for my sin enough? Daily, I try to choose that He is all I need. So, I guess I don’t want anything or anyone to break that deal!
    Nice post- thanks!

  2. Wow. This is truly a thought-provoking piece that asks the tough questions! It really made me take my own inventory. Would I still trust God if I lost everything. I had to stop, pause and really think about that. But then I realized if that were to happen I would need God even more. As you say where would I go? Thank you for writing this. I got so much out of it. I appreciate it.

  3. Good day. I have nominated you for a Wonderful Team Member Readership Award. Here’s the link

    Hoping you will participate.Thank you.

  4. …Because He is my Lord. Great post, Thanks for sharing

  5. J. D., thank you for magnifying the Savior. To Him be glory forever.

  6. Beautiful! Several years ago, I was holding my baby, just enjoying that quiet time. He was very awake even though it was past bedtime. I had not read very much of the Bible up to that point, and was very much living a sinfilled life. But God, who is faithful, Who’s Word will not return void, brought it to my mind the story about Abraham, and how he was to sacrifice his son. I was shocked that it would come to my mind in that moment..it had to be God. I thought about how horribly sad, and hard it had to have been for Abraham, and in THAT second, the Lord sort of whispered, could you? I said.. ‘nope’. Not a chance. At that time, there were family struggles going on and I had a lot of old wounds that I wasn’t even aware, and I just knew that I was not able. After a short thought process.. I said, “ok, Lord, only to You”. I could ONLY give up a child to HIM. We all went to bed, and when we woke up, my baby had died in the night of crib death. There is no doubt in my mind that the Lord spoke to me that night. Would I still love God even though??? Even though my sister died at 15, my mother was beaten, the girls were molested, my sister in law died of breast cancer after suffering, etc.. do I still love God even though bad things happen.. yes.

  7. I have been following your posts for a couple weeks now and have found them to be very insightful and helpful. This one, in particular, has touched me deeply. May God continue to use you to present new perspectives on the truth.

  8. Good observation about the deal breaker. My current Leukemia is no deal breaker as long as Jesus is Lord. When we realize that we belong to Him (1 Cor 3:21-23), there is no deal breaker. Thanks for your post!

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