and ramblings on everything in between
I throw around the term Christ follower a lot on this blog and I realized recently that some of you might not understand what I mean by that. The Bible makes it clear that the only way to be saved from our sins is to accept that Jesus lived and died for us so we can have eternal life with God. John 14:6 states it like this:
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know the Father as well.”
Accepting Jesus is all it takes to have eternal life. Your good deeds aren’t measured, your tithes aren’t counted, your service isn’t considered. It boils down to realizing and believing that what Jesus did for us on the cross was enough to cover all of it.
So what happens once you’ve made that decision? What turns people into Christ followers? I like to think it can be summed up with three words: study, obey, teach.
In the Book of Ezra, you can find this verse:
“For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the Lord, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel.” (Ezra 7:10)
Ezra studied God’s word, obeyed God’s commandments, and taught others about God’s love. When we go from believing there’s a God to living a life that is pointed towards that God, we then begin our journey as a Christ follower. The difference between believing and following is putting your faith into action.
Study: Like everything in life, it’s good to know what you are buying into. I often remind the students I work with at youth group that we don’t want them to take what we teach them at face value. We want them to understand where it comes from in the Bible and why we believe what we say we believe in. I want them to challenge me so they can truly understand why it is we think this Jesus guy is real. The best way we can understand what we believe is by reading and studying the Bible. It’s our love letter from God, a way that we can hear Him speak about who He is and what He has done for us. So put your Bible to good use. Crinkle the pages, highlight your favorite passages, study how this Christianity thing came to be.
Obey: I’m sure we can all agree that it’s one thing to study the Bible and a completely different thing to obey it. All the knowledge we gain while reading the Bible is wasted if we don’t try our best to obey the teachings and live it out. I fail every day at completely obeying God’s word, so I don’t want to imply that He’s expecting perfection from us. God knows we’re incapable of fully obeying His commandments and that is why He sent Jesus to save us. But I think a Christ follower is someone who is actively trying to obey God’s word. We have to practice what we preach and make our walk match our talk. You know, all those clichés. It’s not enough to know that we should be loving and compassionate and forgiving. We need to live it out.
Teach: My pastor once pointed out that there’s a reason why God doesn’t send us to Heaven as soon as we accept Jesus. He pointed out that there are two things we can do on Earth that we can’t do in Heaven. One is sin – and God doesn’t leave us here so we can sin – and the other is tell people about Jesus. It’s a Christ followers job to teach others about God and the Bible and Jesus. We shouldn’t hoard it and keep it to ourselves. We should make it a point to share with others what we’ve learned and how it has changed our lives. A Christ follower can help others to become Christ followers by teaching what they know. That whole ‘make disciples of men’ piece.
I’m no authority on this matter – I’m just a girl who loves Jesus – but this is my over-simplistic attempt at capturing what it means to be a Christ follower. We don’t need to tirelessly chase after all the things we think we have to be or have to have in our life to be accepted by God. We’re already accepted and loved beyond measure just as we are. We’re enough because Jesus was more than enough. So what does being a Christ follower mean to you?