This is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.-1 John 4:10

For far too long, we have convinced one another that we are basically good people who have simply made some bad decisions. Whether we’ve lied or cheated or stolen or taken God’s name in vain, we’ve all made mistakes. We just need to invite Jesus into our hearts, and he will forgive us of all these things.

But the reality of the gospel is that we do not become God’s children as a result of our own initiative. Nor does he provide salvation primarily because of an invitation from us.

The truth is before we were ever born, God was working to adopt us. While we were lying alone in the depths of our sin, God was planning to save us. And the only way we can become a part of the family of God is through a love entirely beyond our imagination and completely out of our control.

This is at the core of Christianity, yet we are prone to miss it when we describe becoming a follower of Jesus as “inviting him into our heart.” Christianity does not begin with our pursuit of Jesus, but with his pursuit of us. Likewise, Christianity doesn’t begin with an invitation we offer to Jesus, but was an invitation he offers to us. We have done nothing to warrant this invitation. Not only has Jesus initiated a relationship with us, he also allows us to be recipients of his grace.

When we realize that Jesus is the one who invites us to follow him, everything changes. Our souls are struck by the greatness of the one who has called us. We are overwhelmed by the magnitude of the words follow me because we are awed by the majesty of the “me” who says them. He is worthy of more than church attendance and casual association. He is worthy of total abandonment and supreme adoration.

Everyone who has ever been saved from their sins knows that they have been pursued by Jesus-and their lives haven’t been the same since.

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