Monday, June 20, 2011

Are You a Follower?

In 1 Corinthians 11:1, Paul says -- "Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ."

This is an astonishing verse to me, because Paul is saying that he is consistently living a life worth emulating.  How many of us would dare say to someone -- "Follow me as I follow Jesus??"

And yet, the reality is that we all have a following.  We may not even be aware of the fact that others are looking to us and following our examples, but they are.  People you would never suspect are watching you and how you live your life.  They are looking to see if your "walk" matches your "talk." 

If you have children, then you are painfully aware of the fact that you are being watched and copied!  Our children are actually walking, talking full-length mirrors, from which we can observe many of our own habits, phrases, expressions, gestures, attitudes, and idiosyncrasies quite clearly and even comically at times!  If we don't like what we see in their lives, we would be wise to look a little more closely at our own lives!!

James 1:22-24 says (in the Amplified version), "But be doers of the Word [obey the message], and not merely listeners to it, betraying yourselves [into deception by reasoning contrary to the Truth].  For if anyone only listens to the Word without obeying it and being a doer of it, he is like a man who looks carefully at his [own] natural face in a mirror; for he thoughtfully observes himself and then goes off and promptly forgets what he was like."

God's Word helps us look below the surface, so we see what is really in our hearts!  As we respond to what we see in repentance and humility, we will eventually be able to have the confidence of Paul in saying, "Follow me as I follow Christ!"

What is a Follower?

I recently celebrated the fact that I had 200 followers on my blog.  Of course, that doesn't mean that those 200 people actually read my blog every time I put up a new post.  Many of those followers have probably forgotten about my blog over time, in the busyness of life, or as more interesting blogs have come to their attention.  Some of my public followers probably check in from time to time and skim over any new content since the last time they were here.  They have a mild interest in what's going on in my life or in what I may have to say.  That is perfectly natural, since we haven't actually met in real life and don't really have a relationship.  However, I believe that a very few of those who are listed as public followers on my blog actually check in here regularly and read every post with great interest, and sometimes even leave a comment.  Ocassionally, we are even able to meet one another in real life, which is always exciting!  Clearly, such a reader is in the minority.

The reason I am laboring this point is not to make you feel guilty if you don't read every word I write here!  ;)  Actually, it is to draw an analogy.  Many of us are Public Followers of Christ.  We have made public professions of faith in Him, perhaps following Him in believer's baptism; we wear the name "Christian" and gather with other believers regularly, so that we may learn more about Him, for His ways are not our ways.  (Isaiah 55:8-9)  Yet, I wonder whether we follow him closely with great interest in everything He has to say to us through His living Word, or are we too busy, too disinterested, too pre-occupied to really read what He has shared with us about Himself???  Perhaps, we have little interest in meeting with Him on a regular basis. We may have signed on as a "public follower," but our disinterest reveals that we may not really have a relationship with Him.

Even many of Jesus' followers when He was here on earth fell away when his teaching became too hard for them to swallow.  Being a true follower of Jesus is costly.   In John chapter 6, we read about those followers who turned back -- "Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, 'This is an hard saying: who can hear it?'   . . . . From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him."  (verses 60 and 66)   (Read also John 2:23-25.)

My pastor said recently that many "Christians" today just want to follow Christ like we would follow someone on Facebook or Twitter -- as in from a safe distance, with an occasional "Like" for a verse of Scripture that gives us comfort and makes us feel good.  However, Jesus is only interested in True Followers -- those who will follow Him to the end!!  He knows if we only follow him for the "free giveaways" or because we truly identify with Him and want to know Him.

Philippians 3:10 -- "For my determined purpose is that I may know Him [that I may prgressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from his resurrection [which it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even to His death."  (Amplified version)

So, are you a true Follower??


BJ said...

Wow. This one needs some pondering. I'm not sure I am a REAL Follower when you put it that way! Thanks for the insight.

Amy @ Cheeky Cocoa Beans said...

What a powerful, well-written post. Thank you for writing this!

Greg and Donna said...

Great post. We are striving to be followers of Christ in every sense of the word. Sometimes "the world" tries to get in the way and distract us but through the Lords strength we can strive for following him fully.

Noel said...

that's an excellent analogy and gives food for deeper thought

Heidi said...

Wow, Elizabeth. I will be rereading this one and thinking on it, too. Blessings to you, and thank you for blessing so many others (that includes me)

Donna G. said...

Excellent post, Elizabeth, although it's uncomfortable to be reminded that I'm being watched and even emulated. (The fact that I'm uncomfortable means I need to hear what you said.) I like your pastor's Facebook analogy. So true.

Rebecca's Refining said...

great reminder.......thanks!

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