What does it mean to be a follower of Christ?
We are saved by the Blood of Christ, forgiven of our sin, and eternally secured with Him. But what does it mean to be a Follower of Christ?
1Co_4:16 Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.
1Co_11:1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.
Eph_5:1 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;
Php_3:17 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.
1Th_1:6 And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost:
1Th_2:14 For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews:
Heb_6:12 That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
1Pe_3:13 And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?
To follow Christ is to keep all, and to practice all those things which Christ taught. The first time the phrase “Follow Me” is used in the New Testament, is when Jesus saw Peter and Andrew caster their nets, and Christ said follow me and I will make you fishers of men. The first time Christ called, it was to ask that those that would follow, that they would learn to spread the Gospel of Christ. The first mention was witnessing, Christ’s 1st point in being a follower is learning how to preach the Word of God.
The second point is in Matthew 8:19-23
And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead. And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him.
The Lord is instructing his followers to leave those things that would distract you from walking with Christ. The Lord was not being insensitive to this man, but was trying to help him understand that the things and cares of this world are not as important as keeping yourself on the path of the service of the Lord. As He said “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?”. The Lord wants us to learn to not care for ourselves, He promised that He would take care of us, that He would provide our every need. So why would we need to take it upon ourselves? Taking the load from the Lords shoulders and placing it on our own.
The third point is in Mat 16:24-27 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.
What does it mean to deny ourselves? It is again, to not care for any of the pleasures and luxuries of this life. Like He said to Peter and Andrew, to follow Him and leave behind their cares. They were fishermen, and Christ asked them to leave their livelihood and take up a new vocation as a fisher of men, a preacher of the word. Here the Lord is asking now to deny even the finer things of this life. To fully trust in God is to completely let go of everything that would take your mind off of what Christ would be trying to teach you. “or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” what in this world could possibly be more important than the salvation of someones soul? What could you possibly have in your life that would take the place of the Gospel of Christ?
To leave the cares of this world the Lord doesn’t want us to be as Monks in Monasteries, for we would have to leave this world all together to escape the sin and temptations. The Lord only asks that we would be mindful, and keep ourselves in subjection to His Word.
1 Corin 15:58 – Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
Always abounding, that’s being always mindful, praying without ceasing. Inviting the Lord into every aspect of your life, asking Him to bless and guide you in your daily work. Being a follower is more than just accepting a belief, but living it. Zealousness, fervency, and devotion in living out its principles is a must. Knowing to do what is necessary and neglecting it, not only harms your own spiritual life, but will rOB you of a chance for Christ to work with and help you in the physical life. God won’t force you to serve Him, He isn’t going to grab your hand and pull you along the path. But He will wait, He will stand by offering assistance and wait until we have had enough in trying to figure things out on our own, and finally acknowledge Him and ask for His hand.
Denying yourself can be, and may just be the hardest of the instructions that Christ has given us. But God did say in 1 Corin 10:13 – There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
The Lord promised that anything that you would be tested by would not be anything more than you could handle. It may seem an impossible task to leave behind your life, but Christ promised that all you must do is ask of Him and He will give you the ability to overcome.
Phil 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
There are many other instructions and teachings that Christ gave. But if these main points are followed, the others will naturally come. You have to want to follow, to want to overcome this life for the Lord to give you the victory. He is no going to make you change, but He is going to prick your conscience and try to get your attention.
Serving the Lord must be with the whole self. Just going through the motions and “tipping your hat to God”, or in any way treating Christianity as just a religion and not a faith, is not being a follower of Christ. Eph 6:6 Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;
God does not want religious rOBots, He wants true disciples, those who WANT to follow and OBey His instructions. Those who would be willing to give up everything to serve Him, if He so called. Being a follower of Christ is more than appearance, it is a sincere full bodied and full life decision. You would be willing to accept any calling, any challenge that the Lord presented you with.
Psa 1:1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
The first mention in Psalms is the Lord asking that we leave off the way of the world and follow Him. To not think of the way you want to do things, but to constantly think of, to meditate on the teachings of God. But not only to think on, but that it would be something that we would be delighted in OBeying. It is a heart issue, the Lord wants excited followers, He wants, and would like his children to be joyful in the instructions He lays out for us.
The Word of God would be something that would fill you with joy. That it would be something that you just could not get enough of. The Way of the Lord is not a hard or laborious path as it says in Mat 11:28-30 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
To follow the path of Christ is to denounce your own self and desires, and to have absolute trust in Him. To follow the fruits of Christ Gal 5:22-25 - But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
The Lord is not ordering us here, but is asking that we would follow these things, that we would be willing to put aside ourselves. These are the things that the Lord asks us to meditate on and strive to become.
The Lord laid out some instructions for us in Eph 5:1-20 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disOBedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
Meditate on these things, strive to follow His teachings. Ask for His help and He will give it.