And He said to him, “FOLLOW ME.” Matthew 9:9 Mark 2:14 Luke 5: 27
Before people were called Christians, they were referred to as disciples. To be a disciple was to be recognized as one who followed Jesus; one who was a student of his teachings. It is important to be identified as a follower of Christ and his ways, not just bear the title …. Christian. Many times when we refer to someone being a Christian, we identify that with a time when they walked an aisle in a church or had some other type experience. While this should be a testimony of when you began the journey of following Jesus, make sure it is not your identity of being Christian. For your identity as a Christian should be based upon the evidence of Christ in your life. Evidence that is based upon the way you live and on following the teachings of Jesus. Here are some thoughts we might reflect upon to evaluate how closely we are following.
Does My Life Give Evidence?
By this we may know that we are in him; whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way he walked. 1 John 2: 5b-6 ESV ( read vs 1-5a for full context of this verse)
To walk in the same way would be to follow. Walking is an action of moving forward and you will move forward in the ways of Christ only if you are following him. This following requires surrendering ourselves to God. Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Matthew 16:24 ESV. These words of Jesus were also recorded in Mark 8:34 and Luke 9:23 but in Luke’s account a word was added“take up his cross DAILY and follow me.” The only way you will take up a cross is by keeping your eyes on Jesus and not your flesh. For the ways of the flesh is what we are crucifying on the cross ….. the way of sin. If you follow Jesus, it will be more evident every day, for you are becoming more like Christ by crucifying the ways of the flesh NOT embracing it.
How Do I Love Others?
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that your are may disciples, if you have love for one another. John 13:34-35 ESV
Do you want others to know Jesus? Then show his love by how you love each other as brothers and sisters in Christ. In many cases the only way the world will come to know Jesus is by how we display his love for one another. The love Jesus had for his disciples was evident as you can see when studying the scripture, yet they made many mistakes during the time they followed him. We don’t love people because they are perfect; we love people because we chose to do so…. Just the way Jesus loves us.
Am I Making Disciples?
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold I am with you always to the end of the age. Matthew 28:19-20 ESV
Take notice … Jesus didn’t say, “Go make Christians” He said, “Make disciples”. I understand the identity we place upon calling those in Christ, Christians; but in reality, Christians are disciples told to make more disciples who don’t simple identify themselves by a title but by a lifestyle— A lifestyle of walking/following one who commands us to live in a way that will cause others to want follow in the ways of his teaching. If disciples are not made for Christ, then know full well that the Devil will have people making disciples for him and his ways.
First and most important, make sure you are a Christian/ Disciple, for you cannot teach what you have not received / believed. Also, make sure you understand this isn’t about teaching others to just be good. It is compelling them to repent of sin and become a follower of Jesus. With the two afore mentioned points, live well by studying the Bible and teaching what has been revealed to you by the Holy Spirit. Identify any area of your life where you are not being a good teacher by example and take steps to change. We follow Jesus who lived the perfect life and was sinless, thus showing us how to live. While we can be forgiven of sin, may we live a life that shows we love God much because he taught us how to love.
Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David