FOLLOWING JESUS ... A LIFE-LONG RESPONSE

If I am Jesus’ disciple then I am –

learning from him,
allowing him to correct my wrong beliefs,
embracing the truth he teaches, believing both his promises and his commands,
following his example.

If I am following him

I am following the one who is my God – who created me and defines my identity and purpose;

I am following the one who is my King – who has the authority and right to command my allegiance and my obedience;

I am following the one who is my Shepherd – in whose care I am utterly secure;

I am following the one who is my Saviour – who gave up his life for my salvation;

I am following the one who is my Light – who reveals the truth to me;

I am following the one who is the Bread of Life – who sustains me and satisfies me completely, and in and with whom I am content;

I am following the one who is who is the great ‘I AM’ – the all-sufficient, ever-living, source and supplier of all that I need and all that I am;

I am following the one whose grace is always sufficient, more than sufficient, lavished upon me beyond measure, and always active for me.

If I am ‘following Jesus’ then I am committed to endeavouring to -

live as he lived,
glorify God as he glorified God,
believe what he believed,
talk as he talked,
teach what he taught,
prioritize what he prioritized,
value what he valued,
love as he loved.

If I am doing this, I will, like Jesus, see each person as they are -

I will carry the vulnerable (Isaiah 40:11),

I will not discard or disown those deemed weak and useless (Isaiah 42:3),

I will be light for those trapped in darkness (Isaiah 49:6; 61:1),

I will bind up the broken hearted (Isaiah 61:1),

I will deal gently with the condemned and expose those who condemn (John 8:1 – 12),

I will receive the broken and confront the religious bullies (Luke 7:36 – 59),

I will affirm the penitent and challenge the proud (Luke 18:9 – 14),

I will embrace the despised and outcast (Luke 19:1 – 10),

I will lift up and restore the fallen (John 21:15 – 22),

I will forgive, and not seek vengeance on, those who do me harm (1Peter 2:21 – 23).

But I can only do all of this if I know and believe what the Bible – from Genesis to Revelation – says about him. I can only follow him if I know him. And I can only know him (the real Jesus, as distinct from some human perception of Jesus) from the absolute and objective truth that God has graciously provided in the Old and New Testaments. To follow him, I must also follow him in his ‘It is written ...’ grounding the whole of my life on the written word, just as he did.

In all of this I will also remember from the example of Jesus that there are times and seasons ...

Times when he requires nothing of me but to live a godly human life. [Note Jesus’ first 30 years.]
Times to be silent.
Times to speak.
Times to avoid danger.
Times to walk right into danger.
Times to withdraw.
Times to confront.
Times to comfort.
Times to seek comfort.

I will not feel proud of the active times or guilty about the silence and the withdrawals.

I will take my identity and my significance always, ever and only from him, and never at all from the quality of my act of following.

© Rosemary Bardsley 2021