Tag Archives: commandment

What Does It Mean to Follow Jesus?

Follow Me Joshua Earle Unsplash2If Jesus could come to you and say “follow me” what do you think it would entail? Would it mean liking Him like we do on Twitter or Facebook? Is this all Discipleship is,  “liking and following Jesus?” Down through history, many have chosen to follow men who have risen to power. Michael H. Hart wrote a book “The 100: A Ranking of the Most influential Persons in History.” Jesus was number three on his list with Muhammed first and Sir Isaac Newton second. He said he would have put Christ first if his ideas were “widely followed.”

That is our challenge; to follow Jesus simply as he asked.

What happens to us when we choose to take that step of following Him?  He called 12 men to follow him with this promise: “you will be catching people.”  They had watched and helped him for three years but still were like ships wandering in the desert. When Jesus was crucified their hopes were dashed until Resurrection Morning. Then He told them to wait. But, like Peter, we find waiting is very hard to do. That is why Peter being the person of action, told the men who had accompanied him back to Galilee, “I am going fishing.” Unlike Matthew, who having left his tax collector’s office, Peter could return to fishing but Matthew? He had burned his bridges behind him and now what was he to do? No tax collector who left his booth could return as it was immediately snatched up by others just waiting for that opportune moment. That may be where you are, having left something  to “follow him.” Let’s clear up some notions of what it does mean and what it does not mean.

We sing: “I have decided to follow Jesus” and we quote Prove 3:5-6 with the promise that he will make our paths straight. But our paths are not always straight  for Jesus may have lessons for us to learn along that path. It does mean obeying and trusting Him even if our understanding is clouded. We must hunger and thirst for the truth which means we choose to spend time with Him in his Word, not occasionally but every day. We must yearn to learn from Him and that takes discipline.  It will change the way we think and act. As His apprentice, we will learn humility, compassion, and forgiveness for others. To know is to study and to keep asking, seeking and knocking and yes, sometimes even wait.

Many of us have “me-first-I-tis” disease. That must be changed to asking who is first in your life. Do we have the J-O-Y principle: Jesus first, Others second, Yourself last? Our love for Jesus must supersede the love we have for the most precious of loved ones and even our own life. It does not mean abandoning your loved ones and never your parents. Jesus called the Pharisees hypocrites because they did just that calling what they could use to care for their aging parents corban (that is a gift for God), no longer to be used for them but only for God alone. That is what we call cult sacrifice and that is not what Jesus meant. He meant you must honor your parents as that is a Commandment given by God and is irrevocable and we are to manage our own household as a measure of faith and obedience.

It means turning over ownership of our life as well as our possessions to him. It does not mean giving up our possessions but giving Christ ownership of them to be used for His purpose. When we allow Jesus permission to use our possessions, our time, and our talents, our fishing rod is poised to catch people who are living apart from God. Our bait is the Word and our life.

It means understanding the truth of Galatians 2:20, you are crucified with Christ and now you are spiritually alive because Christ lives within you. It does not mean actual crucifixion but it does mean being a living sacrifice as your reasonable service of worship to Him.  It means He is Lord of our life and a desire to please Him. [Heb 11].

Hart did not believe Christians are true followers. Are you ready to prove him wrong?




Anointed Ones Abide! (1John 2)

ImageThey say opposites attract but is that really true? We usually use the standards of how we are attracted by one’s physical appearance, by their status, by their education. We oppose those who are different than us.  But, Jesus said we will attract others not by how they look, by how much money they have in the bank etc. but by a character quality and that quality is love for one another. In fact it was so important that on his last night after the Judas left, Jesus gave this commandment:  “I give you a new commandment – to love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. Everyone will know by this that you are my disciples – if you have love for one another.”

Yesterday, John told us that God is Light. Today he bridges that concept to say that if we know and have experienced God’s Light illuminating our being we will be marked by three qualities: love, abiding, anointing. Each of those qualities marks the believers/followers of Jesus.  How then do we know if we are loving, abiding, and are anointed and what are the warning signals that we are not? That is the question he poses. First John addresses the children, having just become a new born believer; the fathers; that is we are seasoned, mature; or we are young men; we are in between, not yet fully mature but no longer children. Where are you? Where am I?

First we know Jesus, who is our Advocate. Because we have a propensity to sin, we run to him when we sin and know that if we confess our sin he is faithful and just to forgive us. We have chosen to keep his commandments, we walk in the same manner as he did and we love one another; that is our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Secondly, we are more aware of the enemy’s strategies and now because we are anointed by the indwelling Holy Spirit we should be able to detect his entrance. To help us, John offers three avenues the enemy uses which are no different than he used in the Garden and with Jesus in his temptation. First is the problem of the world: our flesh; that is our perceived wants. Secondly our eyes are our perceived views. Lastly is our pride of life or how we perceive our status.  John says DO NOT love these three for if we do then we should doubt our walk  with God for these are not from the Father. Here’s how you can tell. When one of those perceived enemy attacks comes do you flee (1Tim 6:11, 2Tim 2:22) or stay? Do you deny (Rom  6:12-13, 8:13) or accept? Do you resist (1Pt 5:9) or conform?

Thirdly, as a believer you have the indwelling Holy Spirit to assist you in abiding. Abiding is our intimate relationship with Jesus, our Advocate and Blessed Redeemer/Savior. It has the essence of how we respond to Jesus and His commandments. We allow Him to fill our minds, direct our wills, and transform our affections. Jesus takes up residence within us through the Holy Spirit as He promised. As our intimate teacher the Holy Spirit (John 14:26, 16:13) will bring thoughts to our mind, direct our steps if we are yielding, and will give us understanding.

Blessed Beloved Ones, remain steadfast, immovable, always abounding lest you be led astray. Test the spirits to know if they are of God or not. Check and see if you are abiding, loving, anointed. Abide anointed ones for you are blessed beyond measure.