What does it mean to follow Jesus?

It’s Monday Grace!

I have to tell you how much I love to answer this question! To follow Jesus is the definition of the Christian life. It is the whole work of the Christian. It is the joy of our relationship with Him.

Several years ago I had a man tell me that the message of grace was dangerous. He said, as so many have, that people will hear about the love of God and just go out to sin more. Then, before I could answer, he said:

“Oh, I know, you’ll just say to follow Jesus. But I tell you that people who just follow Jesus are going to be led right into sin!”

Yes, that’s as close to a direct quote as I can remember, and the exchange is still burned into my memory. It seemed very strange at the time and, frankly, it still seems like a strange thing to say. It’s hard to imagine following Jesus into sin.

Of course, he meant they would just do what they wanted, especially if they disregarded the Scriptures and the law. He had no concept of Jesus as a Person, no understanding of a real relationship with that real Person. The man who said that to me knew the law and only the law.

But Jesus is a real Person. His invitation for us to follow Him is real, just as real as it was for the first disciples. Because He is real, following Him is possible.

Navigating our busy lives is sometimes like trying to walk through a minefield. You want to get from one place to another, but there is a minefield in between. No map. No markings. No path. Do you dare to guess where to step?

As you wonder what to do, you see a man halfway through the minefield coming toward you. He seems to know just where to step. When he reaches you, you explain that you want to get to the other side. He nods and smiles and says, “Follow me.” As he turns to walk back through the minefield, what do you do? Do you demand a map? Do you ask him to show you a path? No, you follow. Step by step, you go where he goes. He doesn’t explain where he is going or why. He just calmly walks on a path known only to him. As you follow, you are safe.

Jesus doesn’t have to explain things to us. He just asks us to follow Him. I know that some people will suggest that the Bible was given as a map to get us through life. But that was not and is not the purpose of the Bible. The Bible was written to show us Who to follow. Yes, there are some guidelines for us there, but we understand that many of the things we question in life are not clear in the Bible. We need a Person.

So, what does this look like? It might look like prayer, but that constant prayer Paul talked about when he said, “Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thes. 5:17) Ask Him to lead you. Tell Him your concerns. Ask Him your questions. Then listen and trust. Trust that He has heard you. Trust that He will give you the information you need to do the right thing. Trust that you will do the right thing because He is leading you.

I think the key is believing that He is real and He cares. If you want a system to guide you, whether from the Bible or from the church, you will never find the personal help you need. If you believe that He hears you and will act out of His love for you, then you can also believe that He is actively guiding you. It doesn’t matter if you don’t hear His voice or even see clearly where you are going. All that matters is that your heart is fixed on Him and you want to follow Him. He will take care of the rest.

And, remember, He doesn’t talk very much. He just walks through your life with His wisdom and love. You may not get many answers. The path ahead may continue to be unknown to you. But as you look to Him and trust Him, He will lead you through to the other side.

3 Comments

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3 responses to “What does it mean to follow Jesus?

  1. A Baker

    Thank you Pastor Dave! I look forward to meeting you someday. Blessings to you, A

  2. Amy

    What a beautiful post! I absolutely love how you define what following Jesus looks like. The analogy of walking through a minefield and following the person who appears to know the safe way through, reminded me of when I walked through a divorce from an abusive spouse (feels much like a minefield!). I prayed constantly, telling Jesus how I really wanted to do the right thing and asking Him daily to guide me through. It wasn’t always easy when many around me voiced their very strong opinions but keeping my focus on Jesus through His word and daily prayer helped me find my way through that minefield to safety. ❤

  3. wtrampedg

    thank you for this post, its something that has been growing in my heart too, we don’t hear enough stories of Jesus in church anymore, everyone wants to be doctrinally correct instead of silently following the master

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