Yesterday I was just thinking about different stuff I could discuss in my blog post for today when a question popped into my mind (I know, it just does that sometimes). What does it mean to follow Christ? The more I thought about it, the more I thought of how deep a question it is. I mean, how can we be Christians if we’re not totally sure what being a Christian actually means? It is a needed discussion for many people and can definitely help all of us reassert our beliefs and make sure we’re pointed in the right direction.
I can’t say that I’ll do this question justice, but I’ll do my best to show what following Christ means.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me.”
So what does it mean to take up his cross and follow him? It means a lot of things. But I think all of it fits under placing God first in your life and getting rid of all the idols that were in His place. I’m not talking about the wood or stone or gold statues that people worshiped thousands of years ago (Though there are still people who worship those, so it’s included.), but I’m talking of the more popular idols of today which can mean money, fame, alcohol, TV, movies, and even books. It could be anything. Just whatever makes you push away time you should be spending on God.
I don’t think that you necessarily have to get rid of your idols. You need money for food and clothing and all the other necessities. Also, we’re meant to enjoy this life God gave us. But you can’t let any of these material things take the place of God. That’s when it becomes an idol.
Then it follows that you believe (Or maybe a better word would be trust.) Him. If you trust in Him, you’ll want to follow His will. Notice how I said you’ll want to follow Him. I didn’t say that you’ll be forced into it. You’ll want to, out of your love and trust in Him. It will fill you with joy to please Him.
What coincides with following His will? Let’s start with this.
Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The LORD our God is the one and only LORD. And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”
These are vital commandments to our faith. If we don’t love God, why would we want to follow Him?
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
When we love our neighbors as ourselves, how could it not produce this kind of “fruit” in our lives?
Following Christ includes all of this…and more. When we accept Christ and follow Him, we should expect to suffer. Maybe not physically, but there are many other ways besides that. Why?
1 Peter 2:21
For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps.
This world is a fallen world. Our human nature doesn’t want to accept that there is a God who rules over us and orchestrates all things. We want to be our own god. Isn’t that why Adam and Eve sinned, to be like God?
So, as Christians, we are called to stand up for our beliefs no matter what. We are called to spread the Gospel. This will be carried out in different ways depending on the circumstances, but we’re all called to do it.
This is what is means to follow Christ.