2 Chronicles 34:31
“Then the king stood in his place and made a covenant before the Lord, to follow the Lord, and to keep His commandments and His testimonies and His statutes with all his heart and all his soul, to perform the words of the covenant that were written in this book.”
Josiah’s story is a common one. While few have ever been king of a country, everyone who has responded to the Lord has walked a similar path as he did. First, Josiah made a decision to follow the Lord. This decision soon led him to a discovery of the Word of God, which in turn led him to make dramatic changes in his personal life, and his sphere of influence. We read that after he made a stand for the Lord, he called others to stand with him and,
“Josiah removed all the abominations from all the country that belonged to the children of Israel, and made all who were present in Israel diligently serve the Lord their God. All his days they did not depart from following the Lord God of their fathers.” 2 Chronicles 34:33
A true commitment to Christ will always result in a change of lifestyle.
This was true of Asa,
2 Chronicles 14:2-3 “Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God, for he removed the altars of the foreign gods and the high places, and broke down the sacred pillars and cut down the wooden images.”
It was true of Jehoshaphat,
2 Chronicles 17:6 “And his heart took delight in the ways of the Lord; moreover he removed the high places and wooden images from Judah.”
And it must be true of us. When Jesus called people to follow Him, it was necessary for them to leave their past lives behind. He made abundantly clear that following Him meant denying self, taking up our cross, and going in a new direction in life. During his short ministry, he encountered many who took Him up on this offer and left all to follow. Tragically however, He also encountered many who refused to follow, because they refused to give up certain lifestyles, beliefs, or practices. Most of us are familiar with the Rich, Young Ruler, who, although he recognized who Jesus was, refused to give up what was necessary, in order to follow Him.
Paul made it clear that laying aside past behaviors continues to be a requirement for following Christ. He wrote, Romans 6:1 ” What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?”
Romans 6:12-14 “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.”
One of the evidences of true conversion, is that we are willing to lay down our old life to follow Christ. Are you clinging to anything that Christ is calling you to lay aside? The solution to finding freedom begins with confession. If we confess our sin He will both forgive us and cleanse us (1 John 1:9)