To follow Jesus, we cannot choose to stay in the comfort of our living rooms. We have to be willing to give up all we have to follow Jesus.
Following Jesus is something many of us set our hearts on doing at the moment of salvation. Our sin causes us to look for a Savior and our Savior is found in the Lord. After coming to know the Lord, we want to faithfully serve, obey, and follow Him. The Lord wants us to follow Him as we are called His followers (Matthew 4:19). Just as the early disciples had to choose to follow Jesus, so do we.
Many individuals are born-again Christians; however, their lives are far from following Jesus. As Christians who want to follow Jesus faithfully, it is important to know what this means. If we are going to help others come to know the Lord and serve Him with all our hearts, we must follow Him. Following Him means obeying Him, serving Him, and applying the teachings of the Bible in our lives.
Let's delve deep into these three signs that you truly follow Jesus:
Nobody can truly follow Jesus apart from loving Him with their entire heart, soul, and mind. If a person does not love Jesus, they will pay no mind to His teachings or commands. As individuals who want to follow Jesus, we have to love Him. In fact, it is impossible to follow Jesus if you don't love Him. The Lord is our God and Savior. Jesus is the one who descended from heaven to save us from our sins. He chose to look at our interests rather than His own.
This is because the Lord loves us unconditionally. There was nothing that we did to warrant love from the Lord. Instead, He loves us because of who He is. The Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are all God. They each love us with an undying love, which is why they went to great lengths to provide redemption to us as fallen human beings. Even while we were still lost in our sins, God loved us (Romans 5:8).
When we see things from this perspective, we can understand that God loves us because He is love (1 John 4:16). In the same way, we need to also love God because He loves us. His love is shown to us in many ways, including salvation, forgiveness of sins, and eternal life. With such a great love that God has for us, we need to also love Him back. There is nobody else in all creation who loves us as God loves us.
As we choose to follow Jesus, we need to keep this in mind. The Lord loves us and He will never stop loving us. As children of God, we are eternally saved and found in Christ. There is nothing that we can do or not do to remove us from the Lord’s protection. Despite life's hardships, the love we have for Jesus will be the motivating factor to keep us moving forward.
The Bible tells us, “Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it’” (Matthew 14:24-25). As the Lord tells us in this passage, whoever wants to follow Him must deny themselves and follow Him. This is a hard lesson for many of us as the concept of denying ourselves sounds foreign in a postmodern world.
The present world is all about instant gratification and comfort. The United States is especially guilty of this as everyone tries to avoid discomfort as much as possible. While it's understandable to search for comfort and instant happiness, this is not what Jesus wants. To follow Jesus, we cannot choose to stay in the comfort of our living rooms. We have to be willing to give up all we have to follow Jesus.
We have to love the Lord more than anyone else, which in turn will help us follow Him better (Matthew 10:37-39). Throughout the teachings of the Lord, we see Him telling us to deny ourselves, to love Him more than anyone or anything else, as well as to take up our cross and follow Him. This is anything but a walk in the park. Following Jesus is hard because it means going against the sinful flesh.
It is easier to give in to the sinful flesh than it is to follow Jesus. Following Jesus means we are intentional about obeying Him, choosing to go against the sinful flesh. Our sinful flesh is a hindrance to us because it will always be in conflict with the Spirit inside of us. We have to work on the side of the Holy Spirit and listen to His instruction rather than take the easy way out. Obeying the sinful flesh will only result in slavery to sin.
Jesus died for us to be free. We are to follow Jesus and serve Him with a heart of joy. Just because we are joyful does not mean we will be happy all the time. There is no greater joy than following Jesus; however, we have to know it is not easy. We are not alone in this struggle as Jesus can help us when we are growing weak. He will be able to strengthen us and push us forward when we feel like retreating to comfort.
Applying Jesus’ Teachings
We also cannot follow Jesus apart from applying His teachings to our lives. Jesus wants us to love all people, place their interests above our own, and help all people know about Him. Nobody can truly follow Jesus if they are doing nothing in these areas. Loving all people means we genuinely love all people. Even if we do not like a person, we can still love them because love is an active choice. There are many mean people in the world, but we can still choose to love them because God loves them.
If everyone loved each other as Jesus wanted us to, the world would be a much better place. Although this day will not come anytime soon, we can still extend love to all people even if they do not extend the same love back. In the same way, Jesus wants us to place other people’s interests above our own. The culture today teaches us that we are our own god and that we should do whatever makes us happy. This is not taught in Scripture nor does the Lord endorse this kind of thought.
Our God is the God of heaven. We are not our own gods, which means we cannot make our own rules. Morals and ethics have already been detailed by God in the Bible. Similarly, if we are going to follow Jesus, we cannot see ourselves as being better than others, nor do we need to place our own interests above others. Jesus wants us to see others as being better than ourselves, treat them with the utmost respect, and place their own needs and wants above our own. Jesus shows us the perfect example of this by dying the death we deserved.
Following Jesus is a lifelong commitment. It is not a one-day or one-week obligation. Rather, if we choose to follow Jesus, we will be choosing to follow Him for our entire lives. Following Jesus means we love Him, love others, obey Him, deny ourselves, and apply His teachings to our lives. From the moment of salvation, we are saved; however, it takes intention to be a passionate, true follower of Christ.
Photo Credit: ©SWN
Vivian Bricker loves Jesus, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master's degree in Christian Ministry with a deep academic emphasis in theology. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, reading, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, she is embarking on other adventures.