We live in a time when everyone under the sun seeks to attract a following. Social media has fostered a craze of self-involvement unlike anything in previous generations. These media outposts provide endless opportunities to follow others and be followed in every way imaginable. Our world may be “more connected”, but we’re also more distracted than ever. We feel the need to be “in the know” about almost everything, and therefore quickly lose sight of what matters most. If we’re not careful, this can sidetrack and sideline us from the mission we were made for. As Christians, there is no greater person we are meant to follow than the Lord Himself, Jesus Christ. His discipleship program has not changed for two thousand years. There is no shortcut to becoming a self-initiating, reproducing, fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ. We will spend a lifetime learning and re-learning Jesus as we rely on the Holy Spirit to help us obey. Our faith in him is meant to propel us toward a life in which we actually follow what he commanded.
Is your faith in Jesus producing a life that clearly follows him?
Genuine faith moves forward. It believes and, therefore, acts. Personal trust in Jesus Christ is meant to produce followership, an uncommon but all-important word. It has to do with a person’s capacity or willingness to follow a leader. When we choose to obey Jesus we are walking in followership to the author of our lives. We are tangibly expressing our deep-seated belief that he alone is worthy of a whole-life pursuit. By listening closely to what he commanded and then aligning our lives accordingly, we are getting to the heart of the issue. Being tightly secured in his love frees us to let go of our lives and pursue his greater Kingdom mission. Yet living in this mission is only possible to the extent that we choose to actually believe and obey. Belief and obedience are the hallmarks of what it means to live as disciples. I can say I believe anything, but the real evidence of my belief is seen in my obedience. A quick look at my calendar, bank statement, and daily to-do list will give you a glimpse into the devotion of my heart; into what I really live for (See Matthew 6:21). This is why faith in Jesus always “shows up” and ultimately produces fruit. It results in actively following through steps of obedience, great or small, which give expression to our trust. As Dallas Willard says, “We could never credibly claim to trust a doctor, teacher, or auto mechanic whose directions we would not follow.” Here’s the tricky thing. When you talk about “faith in Christ” today, it is commonly accepted to be a profoundly personal and unique thing. So much so, in fact, that many people shrug off the clear obedience Jesus calls for under the guise of their own “special connection” with the Lord. You may hear things like, “Well my relationship with God just looks different than yours…it’s very personal”. Or, “God knows my heart. He knows my intentions are good, even if I don’t follow through.” Of course God does possess a personal relationship with each of his children, and he does know our hearts, but this in no way cancels the clear command Jesus gives that, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me.” – Luke 9:23. Faith and obedience go hand in hand.