Churches everywhere are constantly telling us that we need to follow Christ. We are told that following Him is the ultimate road to joy and happiness while at the same time we are sometimes warned that following Him might mean up giving up aspects of our lives that we hold dear. And all the while that we are left asking the question as to what following Christ actually means. If we have been a Christian for any length of time, we have probably heard that to follow Christ we need to read the Bible, pray, go to church, etc. Those are all very important things we need to be doing. But is that all there is to following Christ?
Many of you are shaking your head no right now because you know there is much more to following Christ than simply following a checklist. Many years ago, the phrase What Would Jesus Do? went global in its fame. At its heart was the idea that before you do anything, simply ask yourself the question, What Would Jesus Do? Then when you figured out your answer, you did what you thought Jesus would do. There is nothing wrong with that philosophy, assuming that the answer you came up with was actually what Jesus would have done. However, that question had the potential to lead to ambiguous answers as well as leaving us sill in limbo as to how we actively are to follow Christ.
A few years ago, while writing the devotional book, 10 Minutes to Better Living: Daily Applications From the Life of Christ, I changed the question from What Would Jesus Do? to a more proactive question for follow Christ, What Did Jesus Do? I found that learning to follow Christ was not as ambiguous as it had been before. Look what Jesus did, pray about how God wants you to follow those principles, and then do it. The following is an excerpt from the devotional showing three simple ways to follow Christ.
Three Simple Ways To Follow Christ’s Example
Read Matthew 4:23-25
Believe it or not, learning how to follow Christ is not a deep mystery. It is not even a difficult concept to understand. The hard part is not in the knowing, but the doing. As you read today’s reading, try to put aside all thoughts that following Christ is merely a set of rules to be followed. Don’t think about the rules you have learned. Don’t even think about the things you are expected to do or not do as a follower of Christ. Today, we want to look straight at three things Jesus did that characterized his ministry. If we could just be motivated to do a fraction of what He did, then we could change our world for God.
In a summary of Jesus’ early ministry, Matthew writes that Jesus traveled around Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching good news, and healing people who were sick. As a result of his newfound popularity, people who had any kind of illness or crippling disease were brought to Him for healing. He was so popular that large crowds from all over the region followed Him everywhere He went.
The four Gospels are full of ways that we can follow Jesus’ example while He was living on earth. He lived life to the fullest and died for a purpose. In today’s passage, we do not read words that Jesus says, but we see the example that He set. We would do well to try to follow that example as best we can.
First, we are told that Jesus preached in the synagogues in each town He entered. Though you may not be a preacher and you do not have a synagogue, you can still follow His example by teaching others in your neighborhood, family, church, or work how to live the Christian life. You can do this primarily through your example, but you can also do this by talking to people about what it means to live the Christian life. In other words, the things that God has already taught you, pass on to others.
Secondly, we are told that Jesus proclaimed the good news of the Gospel to everyone in which He came in contact. This means that the friends we have that are not yet Christians, we should be talking to them about Christ. This does not have to be a difficult thing and we don’t have to have any special training. All we have to do is live the life that we know God wants us to live, invite our friends to church, and be ready to share with them when the time is right about what Jesus has done for us.
Thirdly, Jesus healed every kind of disease and illness. Though we might not be able to heal people from their sickness, we can heal many of the pains and hurts that they are going through. We can offer them hope and peace that is found only in a life with Jesus. Sometimes just a listening ear and a gentle hug is part of the healing process that they need. And, it should go without saying, but we should continually be praying for those we know who are hurting. Don’t just pray for them. Let them know you are praying for them.
Making it Personal
Are you currently talking to other Christians and encouraging them to deepen their walk with God? List a few ways that you are doing this.
Are you currently living a good example in front of your non-Christian friends that might draw them to Christ? In what way?
How many people in the last year have you invited to church?