When I was baptized and started following Jesus as a 5 yr old child, I didn’t know much about him. I was following my cousins and got baptized, because it was the thing to do in my church growing up. But God knew what he was doing and the seed was planted.
As an adult, learning how to follow Jesus wasn’t an easy task. Satan always knows what and how to tempt you into doing other things besides doing the will of God. And like most people, I wasn’t any different.
But as life went on, the seed that God planted inside my heart as a 5 yr old child, began to grow and I found myself searching and seeking after the God who created me inside and out.
What is following Jesus 101?
The definition of following (noun) is “a body of supporters or admirers.” The definition of 101 is “denoting the elementary or basic facts associated with the field or subject specified.”
Following Jesus 101 presents the basic facts of learning why and how to follow Jesus through a one-on-one personal relationship.
Jesus asked his disciples to follow him constantly in the Gospels of John, Matthew, Mark and Luke. He was originally speaking to them directly, but eventually his invitation was given to all, when his chosen people turned their backs on him, ultimately having him crucified (Mark 8:34) (John 3:16).
As mentioned, it’s not easy following Jesus. He told us that if we decide to follow him, we must be willing to lose EVERYTHING! That’s not a simple and easy task to ask of us humans, who are lovers of ourselves. We are sinful people and idol worshippers by nature. We love everything and everyone who pleases us and seem to put God and his will on the back burner. But Jesus also tells us in his word that we can’t serve two masters. It’s up to us to choose which one is most important in our lives (Matthew 6:24).
What it really means to follow Jesus…
I must admit that I love my husband, son, mother, father, all family members and close friends with all my heart! God tells us that we must love him more. He didn’t say we had to love them AND him equally – he said we must love him more! Matthew 10:34-39 says,
34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn
“‘a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—
36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’[a]
37 “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.”
I don’t know about you – but that’s extremely hard to do! We must love Jesus enough to be willing to give up our most prized possessions and loved ones to follow him.
Have you ever had someone in your life that you loved so much that you felt you couldn’t live without them? We all have. Then after you started following Jesus and your life changed, your feelings also changed for that person and you had to make the hard decision to leave them behind and move on with your life? Or that person just left the relationship/friendship all of a sudden for no apparent reason? Been there. Done that. I believe that was Jesus cleaning out our lives to become closer to him, because he knows what’s best for us!
Jesus’s disciples initally left all they had to follow him, but still struggled with doubt. When Jesus was betrayed by Judas and captured by the soldiers, his disciples got scared and deserted him (Matthew 26:56). And I’m sure you all heard the story about Peter (his closest friend) denying him three times (Matthew 26:69-75). These men walked with Jesus for three years and saw first hand the miracles he performed and still had doubts about who he was. When their faith was challenged, they still failed him.
What’s the secret to following Jesus?
When Jesus’s disciples faithfully tried following him on a daily basis, they didn’t realize that Jesus had given them the secret. Jesus knew that they couldn’t follow him without help, so he said once he descended back to Heaven he would leave them a helper, which was the Holy Spirit (John 15:26).
The Holy Spirit dwells inside of everyone who believes in Jesus Christ. He is our helper, advocate and prayer warrior. He explains the scriptures, gives us spiritual gifts and the power we need to follow Jesus, even unto death. We are not perfect, but we strive to become perfect through Jesus Christ.
Following Jesus 101 means to make him the ruler over our life, striving to live as he lived. It’s just this simple. His will trumps our will. His goals trumps our goals. His life ultimately trumps our life. And when he comes back for us to live with him for eternity, I want him to say, “Well done. Good and faithful servants. Well done” (Matthew 25:21).
God loves you and so do I,