So if I could give advice to any follower of Christ about following Christ it would be this: it isn’t easy. “Good advice, bro..” Yeah, I know. Cliche. It doesn’t help anything. When I was in youth at my church we went to a Winter concert/overnight trip. For three days we heard multiple speakers and bands speak and play in the name of Jesus. We also wandered around downtown looking for girls “in Jesus’ name.” The older I got the more I payed attention to the words of the men speaking and the lyrics of the music. One year I remember a guy spoke these words: “Sitting in church makes you no more a Christian than standing in a garage makes you a car.” BOOM. Wait….ouch. That sentence set a tone in many of us. What does it mean to follow Jesus?
If you take a look in the New Testament you can get a feel for what it meant to follow. Look at Matthew 4.
As He was walking along the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon, who was called Peter, and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the sea, since they were fishermen. Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. Going on from there, He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They were in a boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and He called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed Him.
Two things stick out (because I italicized them). “Immediately they left and followed Him.” The disciples immediate left their families, livelihood, whatever in order to follow Jesus. “Wait a minute Sam, I have a family, a good job. I’m not trying to leave that.” I get it. I’m not saying there is an ultimatum. Hear me out! You don’t exactly have to leave those things. BUT….we have to be willing to put those things in the backseat and let Jesus lead. In Matthew 10 Jesus says “Whoever doesn’t take up his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me” (v 38). A cross. The very thing Jesus’ life was taken with. He calls us to take up our cross. To lay down our lives to find life in Him.
Again, What does it mean to follow Jesus? We are commanded to love God (Matthew 22:37) and love people (Matthew 22:39). Following Jesus is to do just that. For the disciples, they literally followed the footprints of Jesus. They heard firsthand his teachings and witnessed his divine nature by with their own eyes. For us? We have the opportunity of seeing Jesus through the eyes and writing of the very men that spent time with the Son of Man. We are called to be light in darkness. We are called to hold and live by his teaching. We are called to make disciples.
PSA: There’s more to following Jesus than not drinking or swearing and “saving yourself for marriage.”
Purity is ABSOLUTELY important in walking with Jesus. But following Jesus is a commitment to loving Christ and those around you, and adhering to the words of Jesus.
The love of Christ is key in following Him.
How do I follow Christ successfully? Love Jesus. Thirst to be in a relationship with the one who defeated death with us in mind. Know Jesus. Hunger to understand his teaching and the Word of God. Be Jesus. Live a life built by His love and teaching. Be a visible example of who Jesus is.
Sure you can be a performer. You can do “good”. You can go to church. You can be active in youth group. You can serve as a deacon. You can teach a small group. But you can do all of this without any intention of truly and lovingly following Christ. It’s hard to be a follower of Christ. It isn’t a natural response for us to choose to follow. It’s easy to live for ourselves. It’s Jesus that allows us to live for something greater than “I”.
Strap your chacos tighter. Don’t overdue the pumpkin spice. Be Jesus.