“Beep”, phone alert. Another Twitter follower. A few minutes later. “Beep,” again. I silently rejoice.
Still, truth be told, God has been convicting me lately, of social media being my idol.
I mean, what’s wrong when I celebrate more in the stranger who follows me, than in The One I chose to give my life to?
The world has enough followers, doesn’t it?
Facing pride, in deep conviction, I start to ask, “What does it means to be a Jesus-follower? Is it power and praise, for riches or fame? Do I follow God because its trendy, then silently celebrate when “I” am the one getting new follows?”
What are the examples scripture gives us of following…not some social media expert…but The One who climbed down from a perfect heaven, to spread himself, naked on a cross….For me?
I find, scripture teaches…
Deny yourself - It’s the first word I research in Matthew 16:24-26. Yet, too often I give, to get. More information, better deals, feelings of acceptance. Our world of follows can quickly turn into some invisible club we subscribe to, more than it is about deny ourselves to serve and look a little more like Jesus.
Do what He asks - 1 John 2:4-6 tells us, if we say we know Jesus, but don’t do what He says, we are a liar. Yet, how easy can it be to mirror anyone else, but Jesus, in this world so hungry for followers?
Christ alone- I go on to read about how when we truly follow Him, God calls us to have no other priority or agendas. (Luke 9:59-60)
Abiding, bearing, and giving - He calls us to abide in His word (John 8:31-32), bear our cross (Luke 14:25-33), and offer our possessions to the poor. (Luke 18:22-23)
Fully Surrendered Service - Christ also gives us the example that following God means our life isn’t ours anymore. He grabs a towel, bends low and washes His disciples feet. (John 13:12-17) Following is about giving of ourselves, living a life of surrendered, sacrificial service to the needy and our neighbor.
Yet, following Jesus offers us more than sacrifice, service, suffering, and denial.
Following a worldly stage usually just exalts or exhausts us. It can stir envy and remind us of our own inadequacies and failings. However, following Jesus offers us blessing, hope, abundant life, joy, healing and freedom.
l In Him we will fulfill our calling/purpose. (Matt 4:18-20)
l Those hungry will be satisfied, their insatiable thirst and hunger will be quenched. (Matt 8:1)
l Healing comes when walking with Him. (Matt 12:5, Matt 19:2, Luke 7:8)
l Following results in honor from the Father given (John 12:26).
l Walking with Jesus offers us truth, hope, and life-giving encouragement that empowers and equips us to do everything He asks. (Luke 9:11)
And I am learning, worldly following may help and educate us, empower and equip us, but the Biblical following of Jesus, was a radical, upside-down, life-altering, fully submitted act in scripture.
And that’s what I ultimately long for, don’t you?
Christ-following is anything but stagnant, boring, or dis-satisfying.
Jesus following in scripture was a hope-filled place where those who were closest to Him got to hear astounding truth and witness incredible miracles. (John 6:2)
Better yet? Christ-following promises we will overcome. (Rev 17:14)
In scripture, it was often a response of being touched by Jesus (Luke 18:42), or some direct call from Him.
So, who do we want the world to follow after all? Us or Jesus?
Let’s pray, asking God to touch us. Let us hear His call. Let us ask Him to give us greater desire and clearer direction as we pursue His heart, seeking closer and more intimate relationship with Him.
The world has enough followers. Let’s start living by example, with a heart seeking solely after Him.
Though born, raised, and still living only miles from where she grew up, Jen's heart lies in the nations. Jen loves the beautiful tapestry found in the wide diversity of people, different cultures, and all nations. Jen and her husband have been married twenty years, and have parented fifteen kids and counting; twelve foster, one adopted, and two bios. Her multi-racial family reflects her passion for unity, desire for faith without walls, and missional mindset to share both the gospel and the power of redemption to a world desperately needing the hope found in Jesus Christ. Jen and her husband have led in a variety of ministries; including prayer, small groups, children's, and women’s. Jen advocates for the orphan as a board member for the non-profit, A New Song; and loves doing missions work internationally, along with her family. You can find Jen writing about faith, while challenging her readers at her blog, Rich Faith Rising, as well as at tweeting faith-filled messages @Jen_Avellaneda . Jen is also on facebook.
Want to read more from this contributor? Put her name in the search box at the top.
Sharing this article over at these awesome blogs