Then Herod secretly called the magi and determined from them the exact time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the Child; and when you have found Him, report to me, so that I too may come and worship Him.” After hearing the king, they went their way.” (Matthew 2:7–9, NASB95)

And he sent them to Bethlehem. Pretenders never do the hard work. They make a great pretense as to being with you, but in reality, their effort is always, at best, minimal. This is one of the great diagnostic tools of the disciple of King Jesus.

You see, people who are in love with Jesus will do whatever it takes to follow Him. We’ve come to understand that, apart from Jesus, there is only death. We have escaped the daily pain of another misguided failure. We know what it feels like to be without certainty, without direction, without purpose. Those were our days in death.

Some of us have been mangled by others. Others of us have been dragged through life by our own bad decisions. And now, we have found hope and help in the midst of our chaos and confusion. There is a light and we see the end of our long tunnel.

Shame and guilt no longer hound us. The failures of our past are just that … the past. Now, with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit we walk a new path, we have a new hope, we experience a new joy each day. Those gifts were unimaginable not so long ago.

And so, as we watch the sunrise on a new chapter in our new life, we who truly have surrendered to the King of kings and Lord of lords will do whatever it takes to serve and worship and honor Jesus, in public, at home, on the job or in the classroom.

Not so for the fakers of faith. They are, at best, half in and half out. They cringe at total surrender and abhor painful sacrifice. Theirs is a “show me first” kind of faith. They want to know, “What’s in it for me?” And like King Herod, they are unwilling to make the effort to search out and find the One who alone is worthy of life.

Rejoice in the reality of your King. Follow after Him with all your heart. He rewards those who diligently seek after Him. He blesses those who follow His commands exactly. He is worthy of our life!

Train Them Thursdays seeks to wed the Great Commission directive of Jesus with the practice He employed while on Earth. Each nugget is meant to encourage the reader with a “can-do” spirit to realize that discipleship is something each person is both capable of and empowered to accomplish. Dr. Matthew Lee Smith, Executive Director of Eagles In Leadership, writes each thought and they flow out of decades of his tried and true field-testing in multiple settings from rural to inner city. He welcomes your comments below.