Tuesday, June 28, 2016

What does it mean to follow Jesus?

The best place to start is to define “follow”.  It means to go or proceed after, to pursue, seek, accept as authority, imitate, walk or proceed along a path.  When Jesus said to “follow me”, He wants us to pursue after Him, to seek Him with all our heart, soul, and mind.  He wants us to imitate Him, be like Him.  He wants us to accept His authority.

We love the idea of following Jesus instead of actually following Jesus.  We try to make God into our own image.  We love the idea of exercising, because we know it’s good for us.  Some of us even have a tread mill, but like the discipline to use it.  It’s the same way we follow Jesus.  It takes discipline to live as Jesus lived.

We can follow Jesus by telling others He loves us and He loves them.  We know from the Bible that He loves us, pursues us and will never leave us.  He knows everything about us – our bad and our good.  We are to imitate Him by loving people, even those who are hard to love.  We are to be peace makers and love all kinds of people like He does.  We may not love what they say or do, but we are to love them.  “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.  If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Galatians 3:28-29.

We need to listen to Him.  We hear His voice through the Holy Spirit.  Jesus sent His Spirit to be with us after His resurrection.  The Holy Spirit is always with us to help and to guide.  The Bible is the source of spiritual nourishment.  We see Jesus in the Scriptures in many ways.  If you doubt, talk with God.  He is big and can take it.  Take those doubts to God. 

We all struggle with guilt at times.  That is from the enemy.  One of the biggest weapons of Satan is guilt and he loves for us to feel guilty.  Satan loves to remind us of our past failures and he wants us to keep thinking about them and how we missed up.  It then builds a stronghold in our minds.  Guilt robs our faith and confidence in Jesus.  If you have repented of your past sin, then forgive yourself.  Jesus has forgiven you so release yourself from that bondage and be free!  Again take those doubts and struggles to God. 

We compare ourselves to others.  We shouldn’t do that.  We are all different and make up the body of Christ.  You as an individual are special to Him.  “Comparison is the thief of joy.” —Theodore Roosevelt.  When we compare ourselves to someone else, it takes away our joy.  We need to compete less and appreciate more.  We need to be more grateful.  Comparison doesn’t actually help accomplish anything.  Striving to be who God made you to be will give you meaning and satisfaction.  God says we should not be envious.  “Each one should test his own actions.  Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else.”Gal 6:4

So what does it mean to follow Jesus?  Does your day revolve around Jesus?  Do you start your day seeking Him?  Do you serve Him daily in some way?  Are you constantly thanking Him?  Do you take time to pray often?  Do you look for ways to show His love to others?

To truly follow Jesus means He has become everything to you and you do not follow anything else.  Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”Luke 9:23.  That is not easy.  We can’t do this by our own strength.  Jesus sent us the Holy Spirit to help us.  The Pharisees were good examples of those who tried to obey God through their own strength.  Following Jesus means to strive to be like Him.  That’s a tall order, but notice I said “strive”.  Life is not easy and everyone is not easy to love.  But stick close to Jesus and ask Him to help you love like He loves.

To truly follow Jesus we must have the desire to follow Him, the faith in who He is, and accept His offer of eternal life.  This is a personal decision, a choice everyone is offered and must choose for himself.  This doesn’t mean we will never have trials, but God can show His might, mercy and grace through the worst of times.

Have you decided to follow Jesus?
Is your commitment to Him and Him alone?
Are you willing to be a real follower of Jesus?

I hope this has given you something to think about.  Thanks for stopping by.  Hope to see you here next time.

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