So you decided to follow Jesus … now what?
We all have an idea of what following Jesus should look like.
But if we’re honest with ourselves, our views are often influenced by our cultural values, our politics, our background, and what’s currently going on in the world around us.
If we were to strip away those outside influences, what would a follower of Jesus actually look like?
Cultures will change and values will shift, but God’s Word will always reveal what it means to be a Christian.
Today, let’s break down three Bible passages that will help us understand how to follow Jesus. These steps aren’t meant to be a complete list, but they’ll give you an overview of what it means to live like Jesus every day.
³⁶”Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”
³⁷And He said to him, ” ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’
³⁸This is the great and foremost commandment.
³⁹The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
⁴⁰On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”
This passage is often called “the Great Commandment” because with it, Jesus succinctly sums up the entire Old Testament Law. And Jesus perfectly demonstrated this commandment when He gave up His life for us.
But before continuing, it’s important to point out that this command contains three parts:
- loving God,
- loving others,
- and loving yourself.
These actions are tied together, and only possible if we first let God love us.
When we accept God’s love for us, we can then love Him in return and let Him change the way we see ourselves.
And when we learn to see ourselves through the lens of God’s love, we start to love others like God loves us. So, if we want to obey this command, then we need to follow Jesus’ example, and seek God like Jesus did:
Jesus intentionally spent time alone with His Father, He talked with God regularly, and He placed God’s will before His own desires.
For us, this might look like setting aside a specific time each day when we devote ourselves to studying God’s Word and to prayer.
▪︎ We can take everything to our heavenly Father.
▪︎ We can share our emotions with Him,
▪︎ ask Him to intervene in our circumstances,
▪︎ and even celebrate our victories with Him.
We can also ask Him to show us how we can help bring His kingdom to earth. With God, nothing is off-limits – He wants to spend time with us.
When we prioritize spending time with Him, we begin to understand who He is and what He wants for us.
This transforms the way we love ourselves and other people.
And one of the easiest ways to learn what loving others looks like is to break down what love is.
1 Corinthians 13:3-8
³And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
⁴Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, ⁵does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, ⁶does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; ⁷bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
⁸Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away.
This passage is a famous definition of love, but it also defines God because God is love. So, when we wonder if our lives are aligning with God’s character, we can use this passage to gauge our actions:
▪︎ Since God is patient with us, are we patient?
▪︎ Since God forgives us, do we forgive others?
▪︎ Since God doesn’t hold our mistakes against us, do we let go of grudges?
This doesn’t mean we’ll always get it right, but asking ourselves these questions can help us determine if we’re moving toward God or away from Him.
▪︎ If our thoughts are continuously prideful,
▪︎ if our words are continuously hurtful,
▪︎ if our actions are continuously self-centered,
then we’re probably not following Jesus’ command to love God and others.
And if we’re not doing that, we may belong to Jesus, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we are following Jesus.
Thankfully, the more we commit to spending time with Jesus, the more we will start to act like Him.
¹⁸And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. ¹⁹Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, ²⁰teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
As Jesus ascended into heaven, He told His followers to disciple others. The original Greek word that’s translated as “make disciples” is matheteuo, which means “to train.”
Jesus isn’t saying, “go and force people to become disciples.”
He’s saying, as you are going about your lives, train and teach people to follow me, just as I have taught you to follow me.
This might look like developing a relationship with the barista who makes your coffee. It could mean buying someone a meal and letting them know they’re valued. Or, it might look like taking care of your kids and treating them with love and affection.
Whoever God places in front of you, show them what it means to follow Jesus. And in every situation, let your actions be influenced by your love for God and for others.
Which of these steps do you need to focus on this week?
Pick one, and ask God to show you how to apply it to your daily life.