Yesterday I took a few minutes to do a Google search for this question – “What does it mean to be a follower of Jesus?” Here’s what I found.
This one is from Billy Graham responding to the question about what a follower of Jesus is. It’s a pretty simple and accurate description.
A disciple is simply someone who believes in Jesus and seeks to follow him in his or her daily life.
A blog titled “All about following Jesus” had its own take on this question.
…after many years of seeking God and the truth found in His inspired Word, I have come to the conclusion that there is one definitive desire that lies in the heart of every true believer — the desire to serve and please God with one’s life.
A website I had never heard of offered this advice to the question:
So what does it mean to be a true follower of Christ? It means, first of all, that we deny our self, say no to our own desires and needs. This alone causes things to be a bit more difficult because He is saying that we should look to others before ourself. Secondly Jesus takes it a step further by saying that we have to take up our cross. To take up a cross is the ultimate sacrifice. In Jesus’ day the cross was the worst, most humiliating type of death.
Of course it meant you were going to die, but it meant much more than that. Jesus is saying that we have to not only say no to our desires, in denying ourself, but we must also lay our lives on the line. We must be ready for total death to ourself. Jesus promises in the next verse that he who lays down his life will find it. In other words, to find the true life that Christ offers we must first die to ourselves.
I even found a website listed for some kind of course on how to be a follower of Jesus. Here’s how they started their pitch for what it means to be a follower of Jesus:
Following Christ involves a wholehearted commitment. We cannot see a relationship with Christ as simply a ticket into heaven. When we answer the call to follow him, it’s going to turn our lives in a different direction. We can’t follow unless we go where he leads.
That’s a pretty good variety of random sources. Did you notice any theme? I did. Being a follower of Jesus means that our lives change, that we are active, and that we put ourselves behind Jesus and what he wants.
In none of these definitions or descriptions that I looked at did I see anything about going to church and being a spectator, or just giving when you felt like it, or believing that the people who are paid to work in the church should do all the ministry, or any other things that we have allowed to slip into our churches over time. Not one website.
Being a follower of Jesus isn’t some membership that you purchase. It’s not something that you decide to join in on half-heartedly. It’s an all in type of thing.