Faith

Follow Me

MW Editor’s Note: Jesus had four key phrases he used to invite people to be his disciples: Come and See, Follow Me, Be in Me, and Remain in Me. Over the next while, we will take a look at each phrase. Truth is, every person on the planet is at one of those key phrases. The question is, where are you? Read on!

Sequential Invitations

Come and See

In life, you have guys like Nathanael in the Bible who knew a Messiah was coming, he just questioned that Jesus was the one. Jesus’ invitation to Nathanael was “Come and see.”  In other words, check my claims out and choose to either believe me or not. Billions of people are at the Come and See stage. Some are antagonistic about Jesus; they hate his guts. In fact, they’ll go out of their way to destroy those who claim to follow Jesus. Others tolerate Jesus so long he doesn’t interfere with their personal plans. Then, on the other end of the Come and See spectrum are those who, like Nathanael, realize their sin and their need for a savior, and that Jesus is the one. 

Follow Me

Then, there are people who realize Jesus is who he claims to be; God in the flesh and Messiah. When Jesus encounters them, he offers another invitation; “Follow me.” Look at this account of Jesus calling his first disciples.

Matthew 4:18-22 ESV

18 While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 21 And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. 22 Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

What’s challenged me in this passage time and time again is how these guys “immediately” left their livelihood and family to follow Jesus. Frankly, I don’t think this encounter was their first with Jesus. Jesus probably had several Come and See conversations with them. This time, however, was the one that convinced them to drop everything and give their all to following Jesus. 

How much does it cost to follow Jesus?

Everything. You keep your personhood. You are still you, but the truth is following Jesus is a 180 in values and direction than most of us have had up until that time.  Following Jesus is, at its core, a faith choice.  Will I trust Jesus for my entire life?  Will I allow him to become my life, my priorities, my most important relationship?  Following Jesus is to be more important than career and family.  Listen to what Jesus told a crowd who were following him around (Luke 14 ESV)

25 Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.

Now, Jesus doesn’t say following him means you are violent towards your family but in terms of priorities, choosing to follow him over the wishes and will of your family will seem like hatred. In my American first-world lifestyle, Jesus’ words seem radical, but at the same time, life-giving. Following Jesus brings clarity and priority. As you track the disciples following Jesus, you see them gaining clarity in their identities.  They increasingly saw themselves, Jesus, and the world from his eternal perspective.

Essentials to Follow Jesus

A young couple I know just had their first child; a son. In their mid-twenties, they are now the parents of a precious little boy who is totally dependent on them for life.  Food, shelter, clothing, love. They have every expectation that this little boy will grow up, and become increasingly independent. At some point, he should start sitting up on his own, then crawling and toddling, and feeding himself. One day he will eventually be done with diapers and will be potty-trained. He will learn to talk and demonstrate motor skills appropriate to his age. Let’s say none of that happens. Let’s say five years from now, he is still being spoonfed, still wetting his pants, unable to crawl or even sit up. We would all agree that something isn’t right. His parents would take him to every expert they could find to figure out what is going on with their son.

When we respond to Jesus’ call to “Follow Me”, there are some essentials we need to get a handle on. Like a newborn baby, growing into the essentials of the faith will help one mature tremendously as they walk with Jesus:

1. Word.  Having a good foundation in the Bible will help you build the right values and priorities. Keep in mind, that knowing the Word is not an end in itself. We know the Word so we can deepen our relationship with Jesus.

2. Prayer. I’ve never had a good relationship with anyone where communication is non-existent. Prayer is learning to be in constant conversation with Jesus. You talking to him, and listening to him. There are many ways to pray, but it is the close, intimate conversation that stirs my soul the most.

3. Fellowship. You and I were made for relationships. An isolated Jesus follower is going to shrivel up and get some very unusual ideas about faith and life. Learning to live in a healthy, Christ-centered community is vital. Proverbs 27:17 says “Iron sharpens iron so one man sharpens another.” Sure, fellowship with others can be awkward, uncomfortable, even painful, but the joy of knowing that my brothers and sisters in the faith are there for me through thick and thin is worth getting real and vulnerable with them.

4. Spirit-dependent.  If there was one thing I know now that I wish I had learned when I first started following Jesus, it is this; I am not supposed to live the Christian life. Rather, the Holy Spirit is to live the life of Christ through me. My life verse is Galatians 2:20. “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives through me…” 

“So, Jesus, following you takes on new facets every day. Through it all, though, I cling to the essentials that will help me be the man after your heart. Jesus, I choose to follow you.”

Warrior On!

MW Editor’s Note.  If following Jesus is new for you, and you need some help in learning the essentials, reach out to us at info@mentoring-warriors.com and we can offer some helpful resources.

David Riffel is the Founder and Executive Director of www.Mentoring-Warriors.com. Having gone through his warrior years (18-30) essentially without a mentor, God has placed in him a heart for warriors, to come alongside them in various ways as they figure out life. David’s newly released book, Mentoring Warriors: Coming Alongside Young Men 18-30, outlines principles for mentoring and gives advice for warriors in six key areas of life: self-management, life skills, education/career, relationships, faith, and identity.

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