Monday, February 18, 2013

Follower of Christ

I have been pondering over this phrase for a couple of days, follower of Christ.  I know this isn't some profound statement no one has ever heard.  I also know that we throw it around like basketball in a fierce game of three on three.  I hear this statement all the time, especially more in the last two or three years when people wanted to stop being identified with a specific church, organization or religion and just be known as one who, "follows Christ".

A few days ago I was speaking with someone who I mentor and this statement came up.  She said her hearts desire was to ultimately be a follower of Christ.  Immediately on the back of that statement I asked her this, "what does that look like?"  Long pause.  Silence of the phone.  Slowly she started to respond but she was unsure of the answer.  We began to talk about what it really looks like practically to follow Christ.  We hung up but the conversation continued to play over in my head and really make me think and pray and repent and think and evaluate how and what I am doing.  And then these words, questions and thoughts that follow, pushed me to make some very practical changes in my everyday life.  I'm still working on it, but go with me on this journey.

When we read in the New Testament about Christ's followers we read about men and women leaving everything they knew (jobs, family, friends, hometown, etc) to be a follower of Jesus.  Jesus called them out, told them to leave what they were doing and follow Him.  There are numerous accounts of this but here is one most everyone knows Matthew 4:18-22.  There is only one account where this did not play out as it had so many times before, though I'm sure there were others, and that is with the rich young ruler.  Jesus told him to sell all he had and follow Him.  The rich young ruler walked away because he didn't want to give up his wealth.  {Mark 10:17-27}  But I don't want to talk about wealthy people having a hard time making it to Heaven.  I want to focus on the concept of following Christ.

So many of us profess to be followers of Christ.  We have set ourselves apart for a purpose.  We attend church when it's open.  We read our Bibles. . . . almost everyday.  We carve out a few minutes to pray here and there and maybe fast.  We attend other church functions and help where needed.  Maybe we hold a position in the church or assist with various departments.  We know how to fill up our time with 'church activities', but does that really qualify as being a follower of Christ??  Now don't mistake what I'm saying, church activities are good and we should participate.  But I can work the church community dinner or go on outreach as well as the next one and have a heart so far from God I wouldn't hear Him calling me with a megaphone.

When you became a follower or a disciple of Jesus you ate, slept, drank everything Jesus and Kingdom minded.  You left your worldly possessions.  You left what you once were and family and took in everything the Rabbi did and said, everything.  I realize we have to live our everyday life.  Work, school, kid functions, family time, etc but everyday life tends to be our BIGGEST priority and following Christ tends to be what we do when have a spare five minutes to read a three minute devotion and pray about that devotion for another two minutes before we fall into bed to prepare to live 'everyday life' again the next day.  We live exhausted lives.  We live in busyness of the business of church.  But are we really following Christ?

When was the last time you gave up something you really, really wanted to do because you felt a call to prayer that superseded your want?  When was the last time you literally ached to hear a Word from God because that is all that matters?  When was the last time you gave up something you truly enjoy because it's pulling you away from time with God (a good example is TV or movies)?  Have you called a friend or family member and told them, in love, that they needed to be saved?  Or told someone you love that they were sinning?  When was the last time you prayed for someone publicly instead of just promising them you would pray later because you didn't want to draw the attention of those around you?  Or realized you were distracted on your job not because of a day dream but because you were thinking about God or how to reach more people?  When was the last time you couldn't sleep because you couldn't wait to hear or see what God would do next?

Followers of God are abnormal.  They have their finger on the pulse of God, if it displeases Him, it displeases them.  They are attention getters.  They are unashamed of the God they serve and they serve their God with EVERY. SINGLE. THING. they do.  They are world changers.  They would give up food just to hear Jesus speak to them.  They live for God throughout everyday life instead of living everyday life with a side of God now and then.  They are not perfect.  They get angry and tired and frustrated with life and then they pray, repent and get over it.  They would {and did} lay down their very life for His name.  They stand for truth against all odds.  Followers do not see church "work" as mundane and forced, because it's all about Jesus and furthering the Kingdom instead of just being a requirement.  Passion for living out their life in a the most pleasing way to God and reaching as many people as they can along the way in whatever path that may take. . .that is a true follower of Christ.

Ouch!  Have I really given up and sacrificed everything to His disciple and do what He has called me to do?  Am I willing too?  Are you?

Can you still say you are a follower of Christ?

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