I read this verse the other day: “Only let us live up to what we have already attained.” (Philippians 3: 16) I realize that I often choose to live down instead of living up. Living down means that I revert to old habits and practices when I know I’ve been called to live life differently. Living up requires that I make wise decisions.
The first sign of discipleship that Jesus talked about came in Luke 14: 26 – 35. In this passage, he describes how people who want to follow him have the ability to make good decisions. Here is the grid that Jesus set out:
His followers know how to prioritize the relationship with God. We know that God comes first, even before family. Seeking him first while facing decisions will help us follow closely.
His followers know how to evaluate things coming our way. Do we have the necessary tools in place to face challenges that are coming? Are we spiritually prepared for a life that finishes well? Wise choices mean we let things that build us up into our lives while eliminating the things that won’t help.
His followers keep pollution from infiltrating. Salt cannot remain salty if we allow damaging things into our lives. Damaging choices bring pollution. (I think of this with some of the television shows that enter my house at times. The choice really is mine.)
Jesus says the first sign of a committed follower is the ability to make wise choices. I want to live up! Since this is true, I need to make good decisions.