In a world where we all follow something, for Christians to we follow Jesus needs some clarification. “Follow me” is one the most familiar, inviting, challenging, confusing, difficult invitations in the Bible. Add to it the many different ways we follow in our lives, and Jesus’s invitation is far from simple. “Follow me” involves dropping everything coupled with a willingness to die, while at the same time promising to bring light and life to all. No wonder the concept remains a difficult, challenging, misunderstood aspect of our faith.
And in the process, following Jesus can simply mirror the other things we follow in life. There are different ways of follow Jesus (not all bad):
- Paranoid Jesus follower
- Popular Jesus follower
- Intellectual Jesus follower
- Entertained Jesus follower
- Fashionable Jesus follower
- Sound-bite Jesus follower
“Jesus follower” becomes a label we tack on to our existing identity. Following Jesus, unintentionally in most cases, becomes secondary – faith is an add-on in our lives.
And so we struggle to be faithful to Jesus’ call. We fail in relationships. We get angry. We’re selfish with our money. And we read the teachings of Jesus and think, “If only it were that simple!”
Following Jesus is just another choice among many. It’s no wonder, in the words of sociologist Reginald Bibby, we end up with “religion al le carte” – order your favorite religion from the smorgasbord of faith!
How does Jesus compete with that!?! “Drop your nets” or “pick up your cross” doesn’t sell in a world of cable news, Twitter, and self-help advice!
And so long as we view following Jesus as one of many choices, it shouldn’t sell. That’s not following Jesus anyway.
Instead, following Jesus is about our whole identity, out of which everything else follows. To “be yourself” is to be true to Jesus - to have your identity rooted in Jesus (Col. 2:6-7, Jn. 15:4).
We modern Christian tend to ask questions like this: How do I schedule in time with God? Or when do I need to make “Christian” choices? These questions make sense from our culture’s practical approach to life. But these questions limit faith to certain actions or specific times in life. But if following Jesus is about identity, we realize this: I’m always a Jesus follower! I don’t schedule in time with God or certain parts of my life where I need to do “Christian” things. Sure, I might schedule prayer, or bible reading, or volunteering at the food bank. But I’m no more or no less a follower of Jesus when I’m doing those things as I am when I’m mowing the lawn or walking to the park.
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness,
but will have the light of life.” John 8:12
**This post is developed from a recent sermon - "We all follow..."**