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What It Means To Be A Follower

What It Means To Be A Follower

Mike Rhoades | Aug 14, 2018

I think being a follower of Christ is pretty simple, that is to say, it's not complicated. Life surrounding our faith journey may get complex, but the idea of following Christ, that's simple. So then, why are so many of us stuck, trying to define our faith? This article is meant to be an encouragement to those who desire to follow Christ but are confused, disillusioned, scared or maybe even too full of shame to feel lovable. Take heart, the life of a Christ follower is liberating, challenging and above all rejuvenating. I like to summarize the experience of stepping into the faith journey of a Jesus follower in three parts; recognition, acceptance, and dedication.

Recognition:

“God being Who and What He is, and we being who and what we are, the only thinkable relation between us is one of full lordship on His part and complete submission on ours.” -- A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit Of God
Recognition brings enlightenment of who God is, who Jesus is and what His life truly means. There is a displacement of our own god complex that previously kept us firmly locked as the center of the universe. There is humility in the observation of God’s vast strength, creativity, justice, grace, and general being.

Acceptance:

“God loves you unconditionally, as you are and not as you should be, because nobody is as they should be.” -- Brennan Manning, All Is Grace: A Ragamuffin Memoir
Acceptance is the turning of the page, the changing of seasons when we consciously move beyond a general head knowledge of who God is comparative to who we are. It’s not a downtrodden giving up on life but a hopeful reorientation toward a future that is secure. There is peace in acceptance. A yielding to the process of the Holy Spirit in our lives that pulls us through the fleeting moments of dread that threaten to break us apart.

Dedication:

“Can we expect the flames of our worship of God to burn brightly in public on the Lord’s Day when they barely flicker for Him in secret on other days?” -- Donald S. Whitney, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life
Dedication to the cause of Christ is birthed from the foundation of recognition and acceptance. It is the third and vital phase of a gospel-centered existence. Dedication is work, it’s action, and it’s pace. Because a true follower of Christ has no option but to move. By the very nature of the title, to be a follower is to be defined by the chase. Stagnation is not possible for those who follow.

A Follower Is Defined By The One They Follow:

“The question is no longer if we are called, only where and how. The call to follow him is the call to be sent and to send.” -- J.D. Greear, Gaining By Losing
So to those who are struggling to define or embrace their faith journey. To those who are struggling to answer the question, “What does it mean to be a follower of Christ?” I offer this encouragement...it’s not complicated, the journey will challenge you, but it’s accessible to everyone. Joy and success as a follower of Christ are yours. It’s one step at a time in humble pursuit and attention to the things that are important to Jesus. There is no bar to meet or list of things to attain before stepping out in faith. He leads and you follow. Some steps will be harder than others but they will be yours and yours alone, each one drawing you closer, each one purposeful. Recognize who God is compared to who you are. Accept His unfathomable love and affection for you. Then, dedicate yourself to the life of a follower. He will lead you well, challenge you deeply, and reward you immensely.

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